Local group in talks with two universities considering Cornwall expansion

Published on July 14, 2014
Nav Centre in Cornwall, the location for a proposed university expansion in Cornwall.

CORNWALL, Ontario – A steering committee looking to land a university in Cornwall is in talks with two institutions to expand to the city.

Steering committee members spoke at city hall Monday night and told councillors that we could see a satellite campus located here, likely at the Nav Centre property.

Late last year the province said it would not be funding any new universities in Ontario, but it did allow for the expansion of existing facilities.

At the same time the steering committee, in conjunction with outside experts, were completing a feasibility study to determine whether creating a local university is workable.

“Sometimes you are better to be lucky than smart…and we were lucky with that timing,” said steering committee member Tom Kaneb.

Of the 22 universities in Ontario that were contacted, just eight responded to the steering committee’s query and that number has been pared down to two.

Steering committee member Jeff Ridal characterized the facilities as “significant universities” but would not name them, citing the fragility of talks to this point.

Ridal did say talks have taken place at a high level with university leadership, including presidents, vice-presidents and academic decision-makers.

Steering committee member Gail Kaneb explained if a university campus is brought to Cornwall, it will be a so-called “blended model” which would include classes given by professors, classes provided at St. Lawrence College’s Cornwall campus and online learning.

The next step will be to continue to drum up support for the idea, said steering committee member Gerry Benson.

“We don’t give up, these people are dedicated to the cause,” said Benson.

The city spent $55,000 to help pay for a feasibility study.