On Campus

George Brown to get waterfront campus

New campus seen as "keystone" to Toronto waterfront development

George Brown College plans to build a multi-million dollar campus on Toronto’s waterfront that will accommodate 4,000 new students.

The development will bring a number of health-sciences programs—nursing, dentistry, fitness, and orthotics, among others—under the same roof. It will also include a residence for 500 students and an athletics centre.

George Brown president Anne Sado said that the school had considered a new campus for about four years, but it was only last year when they began seriously talking about moving to the lakefront—just two blocks south of its existing St. James campus.

Sado said that consolidating George Brown’s health-sciences programs would allow the school to more easily implement its inter-professional education curriculum, in which students from different health-care backgrounds learn from each other in a classroom setting.

“Unless we start changing the way we educate our health professionals, they’re not going to change the way they operate when they are in practice,” said Sado.

Sado said that the health-sciences building—the first phase of construction on the new campus—would cost about $90 million. The province committed $61.5 million to the project and the college committed a further $15 million, which leaves a $13-million gap that will be made up through a fundraising campaign.

Marissa Piattelli of Waterfront Toronto, the agency tasked with revamping the city’s lakeshore, said that a post-secondary presence in the area was an important element of the development.

“Even in order to attract business and the private sector, you need a post-secondary institution there,” she said. “The presence of a post-secondary institution is a keystone of the creative district that we’re trying to build on the waterfront.”

Every building constructed in the waterfront development must receive LEED Gold certification, which means the structures are energy efficient, conserve water, and are built with environmentally friendly materials.

George Brown’s complex is no exception, and Sado said she is committed to ensuring that any new building on campus is LEED-certified. She noted that, aside from the new campus, the college has no plans to build more.

Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty applauded Waterfront Toronto and George Brown for working to benefit the city’s development.

“This is an example of fantastic city building—getting much needed extra post-secondary school space while also revitalizing Toronto’s waterfront,” he said.