Hearst campus getting a facelift thanks to injection of cash

Université de Hearst’s campus will be getting a much-needed facelift thanks to funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

On Jan. 12, MPP Greg Rickford and MPP George Pirie announced over $4 million in funding for 13 economic development projects in the northeast. The university is receiving over $1.2 million to renovate its campus facilities in Hearst.

“We are in dire need of internet access equipment, hardware, furniture, and audio/video equipment also will be included in the renovations,” said Martine Laberge, director of communications and marketing for Université de Hearst. “The building is pretty old, so this will help us modify electrical wiring, lighting, heating, sound insulation, things that are very much needed after 70 years.”

The university is celebrating its platinum anniversary this year and the Hearst campus building has been there since the beginning.

The second floor, which currently houses a lot of the classroom space, will provide more student space, including meeting and work rooms and a common area that was originally a staff room.

The third floor is set to increase capacity for the university’s psychology department with a new laboratory, as well as five classrooms and student spaces for collaboration.

While the third-floor dorms will be eliminated, Laberge said that there are housing options for students in town, and they aren’t facing the same crisis that Timmins’ international students are.

“We have a newer space for dormitories, and we also have partnerships with landlords that rent to students, off-campus but very close by,” said Laberge. “When we admit people, we make sure we have room for them in our communities.”

Laberge said that the university is attracting a lot of international students, and with the renovations, they will be able to accommodate more applicants.

“You don’t want to have someone come all the way here, and be left on their own,” said Laberge about their work with international students. “It’s in our DNA that we don’t leave anyone out.”

The university’s plan is to grow slowly, focusing on providing its students with the best experience they can have in the communities.

“We’re on a smaller scale, so we can do things a little differently,” Laberge said. “We can’t really grow much more until we know we have the capacity to do it.”

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com