Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Guelph closes Alfred and Kempville colleges

 The University of Guelph is closing two of the four colleges it inherited from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The closure of the campus at Alfred leaves Ontario with no francophone college for agriculture students.

The closure of the campus at Kempville means there will be no agricultural colleges in Eastern Ontario.

Existing students will be allowed to continue untll graduation, said university president Alisgtair Summerlee. He is scheduled to retire in August when Franco Vaccacino of the University of Toronto becomes president.

There are 61 students at Alfred and 249 at Kemptville.

"There are opportunities to strengthen the core of the (bio-resources management) program by centralizing it at Guelph,” Summerlee said.

A similar Ridgetown BBRM program will also be moved to the Guelph campus.

“Currently, it costs about $4.6 million a year to support teaching, research, operations and maintenance at Kemptville, and nearly $2.3 million at Alfred,” the university said in a news release.

“There are also substantial indirect costs for things such as animal care, student support services and health and safety.

“Clearly, this is not sustainable,” Summerlee said.

Consolidating the regional campus programs will eliminate more than 37 full-time positions at Alfred and 75 at Kemptville, as well as a number of part-time and casual workers. The university did not indicate how many more than those figures are at risk.

Research projects at Alfred and Kemptville will be completed or relocated to Guelph or Ridgetown by the end of 2015.

The University is expected to continue to manage field crops research facilities at Alfred and Kemptville. 

"Programs delivered through the New Liskeard Agricultural Research Station will remain unaffected for the immediate future," the statement says.