Sault College Centre for Health Sciences Project Paused, Renovation Considered
The planned construction of a new Sault College Centre for Health Sciences building has been put on hold, according to college president David Orazietti. While the project remains a priority for the organization, concerns have been raised about the cost. Orazietti suggests that renovating existing college property may be a more cost-effective option compared to constructing a new building at the Northern Avenue campus.
The initial estimates for the new construction were around $20 million, but subsequent discussions have raised the estimates to approximately $35 million. Orazietti believes that an analysis of the facility from the perspective of renovation and its associated costs has not been conducted. Therefore, he wants to ensure that the organization has thoroughly explored the potential costs of renovating the facility.
The announcement to create the Sault College Centre for Health Sciences was made in March 2022. The plan involved decommissioning the college’s old gymnasium and D-Wing to make way for a 42,000-square foot new facility. The centre aims to serve as an academic home for students in the college’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, personal support worker program, and other health programs. Additionally, there were discussions about including simulation spaces for training by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Sault Area Hospital, as well as a new skin and wound care lab.
Originally scheduled to open in the fall of 2025, the project is now being paused to conduct further due diligence on the costs. Orazietti emphasized that developing a modern space for the Health Sciences program remains a top priority, whether through renovation or new construction.
Orazietti clarified that the pause on the Centre for Health Sciences project does not mean it has been superseded by a call for a new college residence building. The college will continue to move forward with all projects based on the availability of information and the ability to proceed with construction or renovation.
Overall, the college is taking a cautious approach to ensure that the best path forward is chosen for the Sault College Centre for Health Sciences.