The economic impact of today's official announcement that Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning has exercised its option to purchase lands strategically located in Cambridge is great news for the community.
"We are extremely pleased to see this partnership progress to a new level," says Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig. "We recognize the importance of Conestoga’s contribution to the region and beyond. Our goal was to help facilitate the process to build upon the educational opportunities for the community."
About five years ago, the City of Cambridge acquired 131 acres located on Fountain Street, with Highway 401 visibility, adjacent to the main Conestoga campus. The investment supported the City's long term economic development goals and paved the way to build up a critical mass of post-secondary excellence and support the cluster of activities in the region. The land officially changes hands today with the City fully recouping costs associated with the purchase and administration of the land parcel.
Today, Conestoga is the fastest growing public college in Ontario with 55,000 students annually, and a first-year student enrolment that has grown by approximately 50% over the last three years. Recognized nine out of the last ten years as Ontario's top college, Conestoga's vision will see the first phase of construction begin in 2009. The ground breaking will make way for a new School of Engineering Technology specializing in advanced technology programs related to: Robotics, Process Automation, Electronics, Communications, Engineering, and Information Technology. With over 200,000 square feet of applied learning and research space, this new addition to Conestoga will bring to the community a number of new programs aimed at supporting the domestic and international competitiveness of local business and industry partners.
Dr. John Tibbits, President of Conestoga commented, "We're extremely pleased with this important step in establishing the new campus. As the Province of Ontario has recently shown by its generous grant of $21 million for the new campus, we look forward to realizing the joint vision of the City of Cambridge and Conestoga."
Conestoga plans to have Phase 1 construction completed by 2011 creating capacity for 3,000 new students at the campus. A further 800,000 square feet of applied research and learning space is anticipated to be built in subsequent phases of development, adding capacity for a another 11,000 students.
The City of Cambridge's Economic Development Division has been involved in land development for decades as a way to pioneer industrial, commercial and business park development in the community. The recent project is a great example of a partnership that will grow and strengthen the significant assets of Cambridge and southwestern Ontario.
Bozena (Bo) Densmore
Director of Economic Development,
T: 519.740.4536 Ext. 4511
Vice President, Development and Alumni
T: 519.748.5220 Ext. 2235