Trent University Praises Provincial Investments in Infrastructure
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 26, 2009, Peterborough
Trent University is applauding the provincial government for today’s budget announcement which includes a $780-million investment in knowledge infrastructure and capital renewal for Ontario’s postsecondary education sector.
“This infrastructure investment will assist research intensive universities such as Trent by ensuring that our students and faculty will continue to have access to high quality research and teaching facilities,” said Bonnie Patterson, president and vice-chancellor of Trent. “The provincial investments are welcomed and reinforce the leading role Trent plays as a catalyst for stimulating the economy of the Peterborough region, and delivering award winning scholarly research and teaching. Our gratitude goes to the Premier, Finance Minister Duncan and Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal who has been a tireless advocate for Trent for securing these funds.”
Innovation and knowledge creation will be positively impacted by the province’s investments in deferred maintenance. Campus renewal and deferred maintenance projects typically include new roofs, boilers, plumbing, electrical systems and energy retrofits. Trent has compiled a list of competing deferred maintenance priorities and will assess these projects against the final capital allocation provided by the province to the university.
Trent’s current deferred maintenance liability exceeds $17-million. Two thirds of Ontario’s university buildings are more than 30 years old. In response to the 2008 Auditor General’s report, which confirmed there is a backlog of $1.6-billion in deferred maintenance in Ontario, the province invested a record $335-million in campus renewal last year. In 2008, Trent received $5.5-million in deferred maintenance funding, a significant increase over previous year’s deferred maintenance allocations.
New operating fund investments of $150-million in ‘immediate, one-time support’ for universities and colleges will provide some assistance to Trent which is contending with a projected $7.8-million deficit in 2009-10. “The partial relief for operating budgets is helpful given that university sector inflation rates run at 5.1 per cent and the university’s revenues have declined due to the market volatility which is affecting all consumers,” said Patterson, “We look forward to interacting with the government to gain a greater understanding of the details of this one time funding and how it will impact Trent.”
President Patterson emphasized that the university’s focus remains on sustaining the teaching and research mission while controlling its expenditures and achieving a balanced operating budget.
MRI Funding (CFI Matching)
As a research intensive university that is consistently ranked among the top research institutions in its class, Trent welcomes the provincial commitment to invest $300-million over six years in the Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) for research equipment and infrastructure. These funds are dedicated to providing matching funds for the federal government’s Canada Foundation for Innovation program. The MRI investments will support Ontario researchers in their quest to access matching federal funds for their research.
Additional research investments include: $100-million for biomedical, genomics and gene-related research through the Ontario Research Fund; $5-million for the Ontario Genomics Institute; $250-million over five years for the Emerging Technologies Fund; and $50-million over four years for the Innovation Demonstration Fund.
President Patterson noted that, “The research investments complement other stimulus measures contained in the budget focusing on campus renewal.” She adds that Trent welcomes the proposed provincial rebate that will ensure that the new harmonized sales tax will be revenue neutral for universities.
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For more information contact:
Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations, (705) 748-1011, ext. 6181