The Ontario government is giving Queen’s $4,251,800 in capital funding in 2020-21 to support the modernization of campus facilities.
David Piccini, parliamentary assistant to the minister of colleges and universities and MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, made the announcement in a press conference last Friday outside Mitchell Hall.
“I was blown away and continue to be amazed by the high quality of education that Queen’s University offers,” Piccini said. “I thank all of you for the work that you’ve been doing.”
As announced in its 2020 budget, the provincial government will invest $466 million in Ontario’s colleges and universities under the Facilities Renewal Program over the next three years: $144 million in 2020-21, $144 million in 2021-22, and $178 million in 2022-23.
The funds will be used for critical maintenance, repairs, technology upgrades, environmental sustainability, and renewals of infrastructure.
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“In building safe and modern, retrofitting buildings we see here today, we need to make sure infrastructure funding is used to ensure the future of learning meets the ever-changing needs of delivering that learning,” Piccini said.
“We [need to] support our universities in improving these facilities across the Province of Ontario.”
The provincial government is also investing $20 million through the College Equipment and Renewal Fund to support colleges and universities in buying instructional equipment and learning resources—including resources to support remote learning.
“We know the past nine months have been challenging for colleges and universities across Ontario,” Piccini said. “You’ve all had to adapt with what the future of learning looks like for your students. That’s why this investment is so critical.”
The Province has given Queen’s $13.6 million in funding since 2015, including funding to support the building of Mitchell Hall in 2019.
According to Piccini, last year’s provincial facility renewal funding was used for repairs in McLaughlin Hall, Macdonald Hall, Dunning Hall, and Walter-Light Hall.
He also referenced projects at other universities benefitted by the funding: cardiovascular labs at Algonquin University, nursing lab renovations at Lambton College, and a new aviation hangar at Mohawk College.
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“These are the kinds of projects our government wants to see more of,” Piccini said, “It’s key to helping us respond to COVID-19 and key to ensuring we maintain a world-class education system and learning environment.”
Mark Green, provost and vice-principal (academic), said the University has “a host of new projects” it plans on using the funding for, especially projects focusing on sustainable technologies.
“This is really encouraging for this investment in facilities renewal,” Green said. “It is really critical to make certain that we have the adequate infrastructure to house all of those important learning environments.”
Green said the University doesn’t currently know which specific buildings the provincial funding will be invested in.
“The support from the government […] is critical to these needs and making certain that our students have access to world-class facilities to go along with the world-class learning.”
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