The project to create a Regional Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Community Hub at the former Sydenham Community School site beside Georgian College in Owen Sound took a big step forward last evening when Bluewater District School Board accepted Grey County’s offer to purchase the surplus school.
Grey County purchased the 45,000 square foot property on 10 acres for $500,000. Approved as a community hub project by the province in January 2018, project partners Grey County, Georgian College, Bluewater District School Board, Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board, the City of Owen Sound and other stakeholders have been working on the plan for the facility over the past 12 months.
The business case for the facility was approved by County Council in April. It includes a trade and innovation centre to support employment and education in skilled trades, technology and healthcare. The plan also includes post-secondary, child care and innovation.
The post-secondary area will provide space for Georgian College to expand programming in the trades, technology and innovation both on campus and through the hub.
The child care area will provide services to address infant care, child care and child minding needs. Grey County will work with Georgian College and their early childhood education program to provide students with an opportunity to observe the child care centre and further their skills.
The innovation area will include supports for businesses and startups. The Business Enterprise Centre currently located in Grey County Administration Building will move into the centre, increasing its profile as a regional resource. There will also be space to operate a maker space/device lab. Grey County staff are coordinating with the private sector to develop an incubator/accelerator component.
“We’re excited for a Skills Training Trades and Innovation Hub to serve Grey County and the surrounding region,” said Grey County Warden Stewart Halliday. “We’re eager to continue working with our partners to build a resource centre that helps our businesses and communities prosper.”
“The skilled trades are an important and increasingly popular area of focus in our secondary schools,” says Bluewater District School Board Chair Ron Motz. “It is extremely exciting to see this community hub come to fruition, which will better position students pursuing trades and innovation related careers for their future success.”
“We congratulate and look forward to working with all of the partners involved in the establishment of the new Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Hub for our area,” says Bluewater District School Board Director of Education Alana Murray. “It is only fitting that the former Sydenham Community School will serve as a centre of possibilities where many diverse career pathways will be made available to local students.”
Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy also expressed his excitement that the project was moving ahead.
“This is great news for our area. A training centre in Owen Sound, led by Grey County in partnership with Georgian College and the school boards will benefit our youth and our regional economy for years to come,” said Boddy.
More information about the community hub will be shared on the Grey County website www.grey.ca as the project moves forward.
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