College Boreal stays in East York, for now

The proposed move of Collège Boréal from its East York campus is off for now, but the college’s administration says a new location is only a matter of time.

For nearly a decade, the French-language college headquartered in Sudbury has operated a Toronto branch at 951 Carlaw Avenue — a building it shares with Centennial College. But in December, Collège Boréal announced that it is preparing to open a new, larger building in September 2012, to consolidate students from its two Toronto-area campuses. It now appears that deadline will not be met.

But Benoît Clément, communications manager for Boréal, says an increase in enrolment in the last year at the school’s Toronto campuses means an eventual move is even more necessary.

“We have an enrolment increase by 20 per cent for the whole Collège Boréal,” Clément said. “That means at some point we need to put these students somewhere.”

Clément says that in response to the growing student population, the school is planning a space that will include a school daycare centre — and new programs in health services, social services and trades.

“What we need is at least a 30,000 square foot facility,” he said. “We have some plans and we are working on that right now.”

Nate Horowitz, dean of Centennial College’s Carlaw campus, said that his school would like to take advantage of the extra space currently used by Collège Boréal.

“We would certainly like to have the space,” Horowitz said, “but if it’s not available, we’ll look at alternatives.”

Horowitz said that Centennial is assuming a shared space arrangement, at least for the time-being.

“They wanted to consolidate their space into a downtown location,” he said, “but it looks like that’s not going to happen now.”

Collège Boréal has seven campuses across mainly northern Ontario. Some 32 different nationalities are represented in the college’s student population. At the Carlaw Avenue campus, for instance, there are immigrants from former French colonies in Africa and elsewhere.

Last June, Collège Boréal’s Toronto-based student population reached 400.

First-year nursing student Koester Riviere said that the eventual move of her college campus has benefits to her and her fellow students.

“If it does move, that means that we will have more space so that we can have more classrooms and more programs,” Riviere said. “So I guess that would have been a good thing.”

For Clément and the rest of the college’s administration, the rush to find an appropriate new building continues. In the meantime, 951 Carlaw Ave. is home.

“So far, we are still at Centennial,” Clément said. “We’re very happy to be there.”