U of S plans to expand its campus to Prince Albert
- EFN Staff | March 09, 2018
A new plan is underway to reach more post-secondary Indigenous and northern students by purchasing a property in Prince Albert.
On March 15, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) plans to purchase a property in the city known as the Gateway to the North. This initiative will bring together the university’s educational programming currently taking place across the city.
“The new campus in Prince Albert will enhance our ability to provide high-quality post-secondary education to Indigenous and northern communities and will serve as an anchor for the university’s emerging northern strategy,” said President Peter Stoicheff in a media release. “Our students, faculty and staff will benefit from an investment that promotes quality educational programs and student support services.”
The property is located in the heart of the city at 1061 Central Avenue. The Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne said it is an exciting announcement for the city.
“For many years we have considered Prince Albert the medical, educational and service centre for Northern Saskatchewan, and a University of Saskatchewan campus in Prince Albert fits our vision and how we serve the north,” said Mayor Dionne.
Stoicheff said that parts of the building on the property will be renovated to meet the needs of the university and is expected to be operational by the fall of 2020. He noted the university will continue to share the building with some of the existing tenants.
The two-story, 110,000–square foot building was built in 2003, sits on 2.39 acres of land and is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified. It is currently owned and managed by the Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO).
“We are pleased the University of Saskatchewan has a new vision for this facility to create and advance educational programming for their students. I look forward to seeing the opening of this revamped facility and the opportunities it will provide to future students, not only in Prince Albert but for all students in the north,” said Minister of Crown Investments Corporation and Minister Responsible for SOCO Joe Hargrave.
Over the next year, the university will develop a renovation plan to include the services and facilities required in the building to include classrooms, offices, lab facilities and common gathering areas. According to Stoicheff, the U of S has a long history of being present in the north—running academic programs and conducting research with communities. He said the purchase of this building and the development of a northern strategy reaffirms the university’s commitment to Indigenous and northern education.
Stoicheff added the population of northern Saskatchewan is growing and based on enrolment numbers and conversations he has had with northern communities, there is a keen interest in more local post-secondary education options. During the 2017/2018 academic year, 324 students in the colleges of arts and science, nursing, and medicine took U of S classes in Prince Albert. Of those students, 47 per cent were Indigenous.
“It’s time to create an integrated and comprehensive strategy that builds on the strengths of the work happening now, and also to create mechanisms that make it easier for northern communities to access our university,” said Stoicheff. “Together, we will collaborate on developing needed programs and areas of research that are of interest to Indigenous and northern peoples.”