BRACEBRIDGE — Residents here got almost what they wanted.
While not another university — a private college.
Monday afternoon, Nipissing University representatives announced they have sold their Bracebridge satellite school to Dewey Educational Group.
In March the Mississauga group will take over the two Wellington Street buildings and will offer online, high school and English as a second language (ESL) training to international students.
It’s similar to a Gravenhurst proposal for a Chinese school that was turned down by the province in the late fall at the former Muskoka Centre.
The Mississauga group currently operates Dewey College in Mississauga, which offers high school, pre-university, English language and pathway programs. The college is registered with Ontario’s Ministry of Education.
The deal was finalized last month, with the help of the town, said a municipal release Monday afternoon, following the announcement.
It will be known as Dewey College. Renovations will begin right away with an anticipated opening in September.
“On behalf of the university, I offer our thanks to the Town of Bracebridge for their continued support and professionalism over the past 21 years. We are confident that Bracebridge and Dewey Educational Group will experience success as they embark on this promising community partnership,” said Mike DeGagné, president and vice-chancellor of Nipissing University.
Dewey College is an independent high school registered with the Ontario Ministry of Education and offers programs to its Canadian and International students to learn and gain knowledge through innovative teachings in an encouraging learning environment.
“Dewey College is very excited about the opportunity to start a new school in Bracebridge. This is an opportunity for us to expand into one of the most beautiful regions in Ontario and we feel so fortunate to be housed in facilities at Bracebridge that are second to none.
“Online education has been a goal at Dewey for several years and the education building provides us with a marvellous facility to move ahead in this direction. Moreover, by moving to Bracebridge, it provides us with a chance to become part of a community which could never happen in the GTA. This is quite significant when one realizes the importance to Dewey of teaching ESL to international students who need to be immersed in an English-speaking environment.
Our Language Canada accreditation is a testimony to this cornerstone of our school that success in English for international students leads directly to success in post-secondary education,” said Craig Shelswell, director of education for Dewey College.
Mayor Smith applauded Dewey College’s plans for the Bracebridge campus.
“The Town of Bracebridge has enjoyed a close working relationship with Nipissing University since it first opened its doors in 1996, but even more so since its expansion to this site in 2008.”
“We are thrilled that this purpose-built educational facility will continue to be utilized for educational pursuits.
Dewey College’s internationally-recognized expertise in attracting and educating foreign students will introduce a multicultural component to our community that is both exciting and full of possibilities. We look forward to working closely with the leadership team from Dewey College to make their move to Bracebridge as seamless and welcoming as possible.”
Nipissing bursary legacy
In addition, in honour of the long standing relationship between the Town of Bracebridge and Nipissing University over the past two decades, the university announced the creation of a new legacy fund specifically for Muskoka students.
“Nipissing University has enjoyed a wonderful partnership with the Town of Bracebridge for many years. As a way of continuing this excellent relationship, we will be taking a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Muskoka Campus to set up an endowment for future Nipissing University students from the Muskoka region,” said Gord Durnan, chair of the board of Governors.
In June of 2015, Nipissing University announced that it was consolidating its academic programming to its North Bay campus. It closed in June 2016.
Residents who had attended a public meeting on the future of the campus, stressed that the community should strive to ensure that the facility remained an educational institution. Over the past couple of years, the Town of Bracebridge and Nipissing University have worked diligently to pursue opportunities for a new educational program to utilize the outstanding facility located in the centre of Bracebridge.
Georgian College, located next door, will continue its operations as usual.