Laurentian board approves six-year balanced budget


By Ed Veilleux

On June 21, Laurentian University’s Board of Governors approved a six-year, balanced budget up to the 2018-19 school year

“This is an exciting time for Laurentian as we embark on the second year of our 2012-17 strategic plan,” Robert Kerr, vice-president academic and provost of Laurentian University, stated. “We will see many milestones realized this year, including the hiring of 23 faculty members.”

Among the notable projects in the six-year period in the budget will be the hiring of Canada Research Chairs in Geochemistry and Environmental Microbiology, the opening of the School of Architecture in September, investing $44.6 million into Sudbury campus modernization and the return of Laurentian’s hockey programs (both men’s and women’s).

The campus modernization program will see many improvements across campus over the next two years including the construction of the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre. Renovations and updating of more than 50 classrooms and labs, and the creation of a multimillion dollar, one-stop student services area. In addition, $16.7 million will be invested in capital projects by 2018-19, including: a new Subway opening this fall as part of the planned expansion in food service, a redesign of the Great Hall scheduled for 2014, major renovations to the Single Student Residence that have begun and will be completed by 2015, along with other investments to address deferred maintenance.

“In many respects it will feel like a new campus to students in a few years,” said vice president, administration, Carol McAulay. “We are very excited about the new classrooms, teaching labs, residence upgrades and additions to food service options.”

The budget approval followed a series of 17 consultation sessions with more than 150 people from across the Laurentian community in Sudbury and Barrie.

Budget highlights (as outlined in a Laurentian University press release):

$136.9M budget, up $4.8M or 3.6%;
Balanced budget for a third consecutive year;
$4.5M or 4.8% increase in academic invesments and academic supports;
Opening of the School of Architecture in September 2013;
Re-introduction of men varsity hockey, introduction of women varsity hockey (self-funded);
$3M in increased scholarships and bursaries by 2018-19 to reflect increased enrolment, tuition and average entry grade;
Increased investments in Information Technology (+16%) and Library Acquisitions (+14%) to better meet student needs;
Implementation of Graduate Expansion Plan including year 2 of the new master in Orthophonie, new masters in Sciences infirmières and Indigenous Relations in September 2014;
Expansion of programs supported by the new Goodman School of Mines, including at least six new mining-related undergraduate minors or majors and new module and executive programs;
Introduction of Bachelor of Social Work program in Barrie, relocated from Orillia;
Enhanced investments in staff training and professional development rising to 1% of payroll;
$14M capital commitment for downtown Barrie campus, matched by the City of Barrie;
$44.6M for the modernization of the Sudbury campus by 2015, including the creation of the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre;
$7.7M for the rehabilitation of the Single Student Residence to be completed in three phases by September 2015;
$1.4M for improvements to food services by 2014, including a new Subway in 2013 and a re-designed Great Hall in 2014;
$7.6M in additional investments by 2018-19 to address deferred maintenance.