An Orillia developer is under way with plans to build a 200-bed residence that will serve students attending the local campus of Georgian College.
Located next to the campus, on lands west of the property line, the $12 million project is a joint venture involving Charter Construction and Mark Rich Homes.
“We understand that a student residence needs to be facilitated in the worst way, as students are struggling to find good accommodations,” Angelo Orsi told Orillia Today.
Orsi was aiming to have the residence open by September of 2009, but said the project hinges on the province allowing a sewer line to cross a nearby property occupied by OPP General Headquarters.
“We anticipate to have (Ontario Realty Corporation) approval by March, which then gets us going on the site servicing this summer,” he added. “It is critical that we get approvals this spring so that we can secure the 2010 school season.”
A second phase, proposed for 2011, would make available another 100 to 200 beds, coupled with a supporting neighbourhood commercial development, he added.
Approval of an environmental assessment for the all-important sewer line is already in place, “however, it needs to be reviewed through the (province’s) own EA,” Orsi added.
Georgian College has “been interested in having residences for well over 10 years,” Cathy Campbell, director of campus services, said in an interview this week.
“It is a common question when we recruit students for open houses and information days,” Campbell said. “It will play a significant role in attracting students to programs at the Orillia campus. We are very excited about it.”
Students who would have commuted from neighbouring communities are more likely to live on campus with the addition of a residence, she added.
“It brings a different element of student life to the campus and to the community,” she added.
“We are confident that having a residence right next door to Georgian is a great fit for students, and growing the enrollment at Georgian College,” he added.
Many of the college’s students hail from neighbouring towns and cities, with some choosing to commute rather than rent locally.
Those who rent within Orillia can choose from a variety of accommodations, including single rooms with kitchen privileges, shared housing and apartments.
In existence at its current location since 1979, the Orillia campus has about 1,700 full-time students.