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Kingston council to vote on moving forward on possible downtown St. Lawrence college campus

A St. Lawrence college downtown campus has been in the works for several years and could take another step forward at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

A staff report going to council is seeking permission to enter into formal discussions and negotiations with the college.

In 2017, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the city and the college.

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Roughly a year later, the council of the day supported a joint-opportunities office to further the plan with an eye on the campus being focused on hospitality, culinary arts and tourism programming.

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Mayor Bryan Paterson says a downtown campus would be a boon for the local economy and place students in the heart of the industry they are looking to break into.

“If you’re a student you want to come and study at St. Lawrence College at their downtown campus. You’re in the heart of one of the most vibrant tourism industries in the province and beyond.”

The college’s president, Glenn Vollebregt, couldn’t be reached for comment but in 2018 Vollebregt said a downtown campus could triple or quadruple the students in those programs.

“We have a program now about 250 to 300 students so we’re looking at significant growth over a period of time.”

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No specific location had been identified at that time but staff is now recommending the municipally owned Frontenac parking lot should be the place.

The parking lot is part of an area called the North block in the downtown core and has been identified as an area for redevelopment by the city.

Paterson said the campus looks like a good fit.

“Right now it’s a gravel parking lot, it’s underutilized and so this could be a great chance for a partnership to be able to use that land.”

It seems likely council will give the go-ahead for the negotiations to begin and the mayor says he would like to see a plan ready in the current council term.

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