Trent Press Release


November 30, 2001


Trent Owned and Operated Residential College Approved

"Board of Governors listening, responding": Board Chair

Trent University's Board of Governors approved a plan today to create a new residential college that will be owned and operated exclusively by the university and integrated with academic space.

"We have listened to, and heard, the Trent community's preference for a new residential college that is 100 per cent owned and operated by the university," says Board Chair Gary Wolff.

The recommendation for a Trent owned-and-operated residence was recommended to the Board by the Property and Finance committee and after a presentation to Senate on November 27. The decision follows extensive analysis of options and discussion on the campus about how best to finance new residential college space and prepare for the double cohort, an on-going process that will affect Trent between 2003-2007. This brings the total building programs at Trent to $47.9 million.

"I am pleased that after extensive public debate and receiving administration's advice on all of the options available, the Board has supported the recommendation to self-finance, a decision that will benefit thousands of students in the future and is financially responsible," says Wolff.

The President says the Board decision balances the university's need to prepare for more students, while preserving the vitality of the residential college system that Trent is known for. "This decision sends a strong signal about Trent's commitment to its unique residential college system," says Bonnie Patterson. In the spirit of carrying on Trent's history and traditions, and in response to concerns of alumni, the residence will be named the Peter Robinson College.

"The students are ecstatic about the decision that was made," says Marisa Barnhart, President of the Trent Central Students' Association. "We see this decision as a continuation of the university's commitment to the college system and a protection of its integrity."

Quick Facts -

New Residential College

Owned by Trent University

Operated by Trent University

Integrated with academic space

Name: Peter Robinson College

250 bed residential college suitable for summer conferences

67,000 square feet dormitory style residence

One washroom for every two rooms

Air conditioned

Universally accessible

Rooms wired for voice and data and WWW connections

Built in conferencing capability to generate additional revenues

Architect: TBD after RFP issued after November 30, 2001

Schedule ­ opened 2004 ­ university to consult with architect/contractor to explore options to expedite design construction with possible opening in 2003, TBD

Cost: $12.3 million

Self-financing by Trent University

The new residential college will include 250 beds in a single-room, dormitory-style design and cost $12.3 million. Each room will be wired for voice, cable and data with the intention of linking students to the World Wide Web from their rooms. The residence will be universally accessible and air-conditioned.

The college will be constructed on the East Bank of Trent's main campus, adjacent to the new Science Facility and opposite the Bata Library. The siting of the building is in keeping with the recommendations contained in Trent's Master Plan Update, which seeks to balance development on each side of the Otonabee River. The Master Plan integrates a three story residential college with academic space, achieving a financial advantage through common foundations, building services (such as electrical, water and sanitary), roof, landscaping, and auxiliary space such as mechanical services. The placement also complements future plans to construct a First Peoples' House of Learning on the East Bank as part of an integrated college complex.

"Due diligence required that we explore a range of options," says Wolff. "At the outset of this process, the initial economic conditions and projected construction costs compelled the university to explore various financing and operating models, including a range of private sector partnerships" notes Wolff.

Wolff adds that after careful study a financial model, based on new economic conditions, was developed that makes a Trent owned-and-operated facility financially viable. Based on a self-financing concept, the model draws on revenues from residence fees and a new and upgraded conferencing capability to pay down a long-term mortgage. The model also makes provisions for the future creation of a maintenance reserve fund. The fund will ensure the residence's on-going maintenance needs are properly funded.

The Board approved the RFP for architectural services. Approval was also given to an updated Capital Development Strategy. The revised plan recommends that Catherine Parr Traill College facilities be retained to 2007 and be reviewed by the Board in 2006, following an assessment of enrolment growth against the institutional plan, government funding and institutional finances at that time. The previous date for the relocation of the college was 2005.

Next steps in the design process include the establishment of a User Group to work with the architect and project manager on building design. The User Group's terms of reference will include consultations about: the residential/college component; academic units and future tenants; the First Peoples' House of Learning; and general academic teaching space.


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Distribution: Peterborough, Regional


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