New building project scuttled by government


Last Friday, Dawson was informed that the government would likely not fund the long-planned and long-delayed project to acquire a new building. The building would have served to redress the well-documented shortage of space for students in the main building.

Several key people were on the call with Danielle McCann, the Minister of Higher Education, including Director General Diane Gauvin, Academic Dean Rob Cassidy,  the Chair of the Board of Governors, Michael Goldwax, and representatives from the Fédération des cégeps. The stunning and sudden about-face on the project funding came as a surprise in view of the government’s defense of the project over the past two years.

Planning for this project began more than seven years ago and was approved by the then-Liberal government. Several groups within Dawson and external experts have worked diligently since then to find a suitable space that could be acquired and repurposed to accommodate the health programs and other units to alleviate the pressure on occupancy in the main building.

Dawson has long-known it has a space shortage and several years ago, the Ministry assessed, according to its norms, that Dawson’s space deficit amounts to 11,200 m2 or the equivalent of more than 10 typical office floors.

The only reason given for the decision was to redirect resources more toward benefiting “francophone” students. She urged Dawson to explore other options, such as leasing.

“We are extremely disappointed by the decision. The College will analyze its options and determine the best course of action. We will keep the Dawson Community informed as the  situation evolves,” said Diane Gauvin. “The Dawson spirit is strong and we remain committed to finding solutions to better serve our students and the community.”

The Director General has been exploring those options since the weekend with close partners in the college network and community. Apart from the message she sent last Sunday to the community, an official statement will be issued in the coming days of which the community will be made aware.

Last Modified: February 2, 2022