A proposal to accommodate 400 students in close proximity to the downtown area of Windsor is making progress as St. Clair College and a developer have entered into a memorandum of understanding.

In a collaborative announcement from the college and Fairmount Properties, a real estate company based in Ohio, it has been revealed that a new housing facility named Global Village Windsor will be constructed on the grounds of the former Salvation Army Grace Hospital. The site is conveniently situated at the intersection of University Ave. and Crawford Ave.

Patti France, St. Clair College president, said in the release that the partnership with Fairmount will help alleviate some of the pressure on students to find suitable housing.

Almost all of the 400 students that will be housed there will be enrolled in the school’s downtown campus, with tuition and rental fees combined, in the same way that fees are combined for students staying in the school’s GEM residence.

Fairmount was chosen by the City of Windsor to be the developer of the site, and construction was supposed to begin by the end of 2021. However, their plans were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Fairmount CEO Randy Ruttenburg.

The developer’s “due diligence research” is expected to be complete by the end of the year, “after which more definitive details about the project (including its scheduling) are expected to be unveiled.”

Students also seemed to favour the school’s ambitions to housing international students.

“I think it’s great,” said international student Saiyam Shah. “For some students, they might not get accommodations; it’s really hard for [students] in the January intake and more students are coming.”

As does Nour Takach. Although she’s a domestic student, she is the president of St. Clair College’s student union, the Student Representative Council (SRC).

“I think it’s an amazing idea,” Takach said. “I see it going really well for the student body for the next coming years.”

The residence comes after alarm was raised over substandard student housing being offered by some landlords.

“I think it’s outrageous,” says Takach. “Six mattresses in one bedroom? Where’s the privacy? When international students come to Canada, they should expect good living conditions, not sharing a bedroom with multiple roommates or housemates.”

“One of my international friends couldn’t find a house, so she became homeless,” Takach recalls. “She reached out to a friend of a friend and he offered her his living room. So she had to sleep on the couch until she found a proper room to live in.”

Takach says the SRC met with the school last week to discuss what both parties could do to help international students navigate the housing crisis. She says the school told the union that the new residence would be built as part of the solution.

Source: CBC