Residence possible at Whitby campus

The current student residence at the Oshawa campus. The map is the Whitby campus with the northwest greyed out area representing the most likely location for a residence if it's found necessary.

Durham College’s Whitby site is investigating the need for a student residence on campus. Currently, there is no student housing at the Whitby school. With the trade programs, the Centre for Food, and the recent addition of several programs there may be a large enough demand to build a residence in Whitby.

“There is such a drastic change in the demographic and profile of the students. That’s why we think it’s a good time to ask students about a residence,” said Darrin Caron, dean of the Whitby campus.

Caron will be setting up a booth on October 8th at the Whitby campus to survey students and receive feedback about any other aspects of the campus. A member of the SA will join Caron to speak with students as well. Durham College would like to learn how large of a facility may be needed as well as what other amenities would be required, such as food service.

“As the principal of the campus you don’t get out of the office too often, so it’s something I’d like to do on a more regular basis. I’d like to get a sense of what students think about the campus, what they like, what they don’t like, what are we missing, those kinds of things.”

Caron previously used this tactic to gather information about the school’s need for a better workout room. The response he received from students resulted in a much larger and accessible workout room for the college.

There are students enrolled in programs in Whitby but they are forced to commute from the Oshawa residence to their own campus. There are also Trent University students living in the Durham College residence and they are commuting from Oshawa to their own campus on Thornton and King Street.

There is a possibility of Trent students sharing with Whitby campus residence. This would create a much shorter commute for them. Trent will be gathering information on student interest separately from Durham College and sharing results, says Caron.

A proposed road will be opening another connection between Thickson Road and Thornton Road somewhere in 2015 or 2016. This road will cut off a two-acre chunk of property from the campus. The cut off piece of land is the most likely location for a future residence. Currently there are no other ideas for the land.

“Once we get the numbers, then we can start to take a look if it makes sense for the students,” said Don Lovisa, president of Durham College.

Nothing is set in stone yet. The residence depends on student feedback. If there is a large enough demand then a residence is possible, according to Don Lovisa.

“Our strategy for the Whitby campus over the years was to turn it into a full service campus. Previously it didn’t have a library; it didn’t have student services there, it didn’t have a lot of things we built over the last five years. So the full service will be complete when we have some housing for our students,” said Lovisa.