Everything You Need to Know About Brampton's New University

Brampton’s upcoming university has generated a lot of excitement (or, just emotions) across the city over the past few months. Piece by piece, the city is revealing details about the new post-secondary institution, and we have the low-down on the most current info you need to know about Brampton’s university!

A Ryerson-Sheridan partnership

Back in March, the province revealed that Ryerson University will be the city’s university partner. The university will operate in partnership with Sheridan College, which operates the long-standing Davis campus in the city.

The partnership with Sheridan is not unexpected, as the province once announced that it “expects Ontario universities to demonstrate strong partnerships with colleges, as well as local communities, business, and other institutions.”

Brampton happens to be the only top ten city in the country without a university. During my mayoral campaign, I heard loud and clear from the residents of Brampton that this was unacceptable. Brampton has the youngest population of the top ten cities in the country, which also happens to be extremely diverse and highly dynamic,” Mayor Linda Jeffrey said in an email. “Our city is a prime destination for a university, which is also supplemented by our central position on the Innovation Super Corridor between Waterloo and downtown Toronto. Our city is emerging as an innovation hub and a university would only strengthen that position.”

There is a high-level plan for programming

The Brampton university is set to be unique, with a focus on innovation and collaboration. In terms of programming, the campus will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, or STEAM, alongside advanced technology and experiential learning.

We want to do something that hasn’t been done anywhere else in Ontario,” said Michelle Mccollum, Senior Manager, Strategic Development, at a town hall meeting over the summer. “We want people to point to Brampton and say that this is how post-secondary education should be done.”

A timeline has been suggested, but not confirmed

When the university opens, it is speculated to accommodate about 1,000 students and grow each year from there.

Mccollum stated that the province will want to move forward fairly quickly with the project, with the project likely starting in the 2020s.

A location hasn’t been chosen

There is one major detail pending - the exact location of the university.

According to the city, “further clarity for decisions around location will come as the province works with Ryerson University to refine its proposal, and after further collaboration between the city, Ryerson University and the province.”

Ryerson has submitted a proposal, however, and one thing’s for sure - it will be somewhere in downtown Brampton.

A $150 million investment

If we want a university, it’s going to cost us! City council has made a decision on how much Brampton will spend on the new post-secondary institution.

Some time ago, city council endorsed a recommendation to spend up to $50 million over 10 years on a joint Ryerson University and Sheridan College facility in downtown Brampton, and up to $100 million on community infrastructure in Brampton to support it, including a shared space - a joint-use Centre for Education, Innovation and Collaboration in Downtown Brampton - for the community, businesses, and students, and, possibly, a brand new downtown library.

Brampton city council has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the future of Brampton,” said Jeffrey. “Securing a university, and all the associated economic and social benefits, has been a priority for the city and I’m very pleased we’ve taken this bold step to support a positive outcome for our residents, our businesses, our youth, and our future.”

The up to $150 million investment benchmarks the investments of other cities with a university institution, according to a report that was presented to city council. In order to contribute to the university initiative, the report recommends that the city leverage some resources and assets, such as a dedicated tax levy and a community investment fund.

Other municipalities across Ontario and Canada have recognized the benefits of having a university institution in their community, and have made investments ranging from $8 million to $50 million in a new facility or renovated existing space,” said the report.

We have provincial support

In terms of provincial support, the province is spending $180 million on post-secondary institutions in both Brampton and Milton, which the report details as a “starting point” for provincial investment.

More details are to come on provincial investment, as the province has expressed a keen interest in developing this new institution. So, there’s a chance Ontario will invest more.

Great economic impact is expected

As for a return on investment, an economic impact study of a 5,000 student post-secondary facility in Brampton estimated construction would add more than 1,800 jobs, and ongoing operations would add more than 1,500 jobs, according to the city. Further, analysis by urbanMetrics Inc. suggests that a centre for education, innovation and collaboration in Brampton will result in visitor spending of $18.3 million a year

According to the report, alongside a complete transformation to downtown Brampton, the report expects an ongoing economic impact of $220 million annually, or 1,510 jobs, based on a medium-term enrolment of 5,000 students.

It’s set to attract more Aboriginal and war veteran students

While a new university is always good news for a city and its residents, its incoming presence is even more exciting when leaders announce that the institution will do its best to attract two underrepresented classes of students: Aboriginal people and war veterans.

I think some planets and stars have aligned in the last year,” says Jeffrey. “The Lorne Scots [a Peel, Dufferin and Halton infantry regiment with presence in Brampton] unveiled monuments here and we worked with them and I learned how challenging it can be to come home from a tour of duty and come back and have to assimilate to civilian life.”

The move to attract more Aboriginal students is also a positive one, as post-secondary school rates are slightly lower among First Nations groups compared to the general population. According to Stats Can, data shows that almost one half (48.4 per cent) of First Nations residents had a post-secondary qualification in 2011. Stats Can reports that 14.4 per cent had a trade certificate, 20.6 per cent had a college diploma, 3.5 per cent had university certificate or diploma below the bachelor level and 9.8 per cent had a university degree.

A final proposal will be submitted this fall

As for next steps, a few more documents are in the works for release in the coming months.

A more specific investment strategy is on the agenda, and further details on the Ryerson-Sheridan partnership are expected later this year.

When the Ryerson-Sheridan proposal has been reviewed, the province will announce details later this year. Then, city staff will have the opportunity to agree upon investment details such as programming, proposed location, economic and social impact, growing the number of students to a sustainable level, and collaboration with Sheridan, new businesses, and other partners.

Staff will also work with the city’s partners on a Memorandum of Understanding, outlining details of the partnership and establishing a process for measuring the impact of the municipal investment.

As always, we will keep you posted as details arise during this exciting time for Brampton.

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