Six Nations Polytechnic eyes Brantford campus
Photo courtesy of Mohawk College
Six Nations Polytechnic is in talks with Mohawk College to take over the now-vacant Elgin Street campus in Brantford.
Six Nations is eyeing Mohawk's Elgin Street campus.
Rebecca Jamieson, the president and CEO of Six Nations Polytechnic, says the institution is in talks with the college to take over the now-vacant campus and transform it into a regional hub for indigenous education.
"There's a growing interest in matters dealing with indigenous peoples and there's a challenge to resource that interest," she said following a tour of Mohawk's Fennell campus Friday.
"We see our institution as being key and instrumental in being able to meet that need, serving as a hub for colleges and universities in terms of indigenous learning, resources and teachings."
Opened in the 1970s, in an industrial park off the Wayne Gretzky Parkway, the sprawling campus on Elgin Street was officially closed this summer, in part, because of its relatively remote location. Its remaining programs are being repatriated to the Fennell campus in Hamilton this fall.
Officials are confident, however, the site won't stay shuttered for long.
Mohawk president Rob MacIsaac said he's hoping to hash out a deal for the property by the end of October, which means Six Nations Polytechnic could be offering courses at the campus as early as next September.
Jamieson couldn't say if the 130,000-square-foot campus will replace or supplement the school's existing Ohsweken facility. Regardless, it will provide the institute with some much needed space to grow.
This fall, around 200 students from Six Nations and other First Nation communities are enrolled at Polytechnic, Jamieson said. And the school's Indigenous Knowledge Centre — a unique initiative aimed at preserving traditional languages — is "bursting at the seams."
The Elgin campus, by contrast, can accommodate around 1,200 students, as well as a more expansive online infrastructure. It would even allow administrators to explore the possibility of student housing and other facilities, Jamieson suggested.
"It would be a positive initiative for the city, the region. I think it's got a lot of win-wins in it," she said.
While neither party would comment on the details of the negotiations, MacIsaac said the college is required to sell the property for fair market value. He couldn't provide an up-to-date estimate of what the campus is worth.
What is clear is that Mohawk is committed to strengthening an already strong partnership with Six Nations Polytechnic — likely through course collaborations. But it's still "premature" to talk about specific programs, MacIsaac said.
Mohawk and Six Nations Polytechnic have offered a collaborative practical nursing program since 2006, and plan to roll out a postgraduate certificate program in concurrent disorders this fall. In January, they intend to team up on a one-year personal support worker program.
"It became apparent to both Mohawk and Six Nations Polytechnic that this could be an opportunity," said MacIsaac. "An opportunity for us to continue to build on our relationship with each other and an opportunity for Six Nations Polytechnic maybe to realize some of its grander ambitions."
~ Hamilton Spectator