I must admit, I watched closely when Premier Kathleen Wynne made an announcement about Barrie possibly securing a University satellite campus. As a Laurentian student myself, in part time studies, I can tell you there is a huge need for additional spaces opening for university students. Laurentian has been using the Georgian college campus for years, and I think it’s about time they have their own campus to call home once and for all. Personally, I don’t like to get involved in the politics of why an announcement is being made now for a Barrie satellite campus, but one can’t help think this could be her way of securing more votes in the Barrie region for an upcoming Provincial election should one be called?
Enough about Barrie. This is a blog about our town. So here is my Bradford pitch. Bradford in my opinion, needs a satellite campus of its own. I like to think of adding an additional satellite university or college campus as a satellite of a satellite. Surely, the campus would not nearly be as large as in Barrie, but could be added on a smaller scale and to perhaps service what I like to call niche markets. What are those niche markets? Well don’t you find it strange that we are an agricultural community, yet we don’t have a school that teaches agriculture? Bazaar if you ask me.
My idea about a satellite campus will take nearly a decade to materialize. However, the planning and the momentum building must happen NOW, especially with a provincial election on the horizon. The province is calling for proposals in the spring.
Speaking of planning, here are my suggested first steps to get this going:
· The Town engaging possible educational institutions and selling them on the idea of a campus in Bradford. Perhaps this could be led by the economic development department? Persuade the education institution to add Bradford as part of their capital plan for future growth.
· Gather key members of the community to form a committee on higher education. Create awareness of the economic benefits of adding a campus in town. Get the committee members to form close political business relationships with the provincial government.
· Review the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities document about how universities will grow and how the initiatives will be funded.
Clearly the above is not a complete action plan; it’s just for discussion purposes at this point. I don’t have the time or energy to build a project plan from start to finish.
There are key economic benefits of adding a campus in Bradford. I will perhaps talk about economic impacts in my next post.