Brock sees hope in Ontario budget

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Brock sees hope in Ontario budget

Published on March 25 2010

Brock University officials are encouraged by the Ontario government’s commitment in the new provincial budget to invest millions of dollars for enrolment growth and infrastructure in post-secondary education.

“Since Brock’s enrolments have grown this year and will do so again in 2010-11, we are grateful for the commitment of the government to fully fund these additional enrolments on an ongoing basis,” said University President Jack Lightstone.

The budget expresses the government’s interest in increasing the presence of international students on Ontario campuses. Lightstone said Brock welcomes this interest, as international students have become an increasingly significant addition to Brock’s student body over the past decade.

The budget also reconfirms the second year of stimulus spending, much of which has been previously allocated to projects at colleges and universities. Lightstone said he is particularly heartened to see new post-secondary infrastructure expenditures referenced in the budget beyond previously committed projects. This bodes well for Brock’s application for the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts new downtown campus.

“We believe we have a strong case for new infrastructure investment for the downtown project,” he said, “and we hope it will be given favourable consideration as the budget is put into action in the weeks to come.”

Brock has been working with the Ontario government, and assisted by MPP Jim Bradley, to identify a program through which the University could obtain the needed $26.1 million in provincial funding for the arts complex. The University would also fundraise about $20 million for the project.

The Walker school is half of a major facility in which the University will partner with the City of St. Catharines, which has funding to build a new Niagara Centre for the Arts alongside the Brock facility.

Rosemary Hale, Dean of Humanities at Brock and a leading proponent of the new downtown arts campus, was happily optimistic that the project will receive favourable consideration from the province, because of its beneficial impact for education and for the city’s downtown renewal.

“We know that strengthening education is a priority of this government,” she said, “and we are pleased that the budget provides opportunity to fund projects such as our own."