UPDATE: Province Approves Missing Piece To Bring University Law School Downtown
Provincial funding has breathed new life into the possibility of the University of Windsor's law school moving downtown.
The province has quietly committed $20-million to move the law school into the Paul Martin building bringing with it, 600 students downtown.
Speaking on AM800's the Morning Drive, Mayor Drew Dilkens calls it the 'most difficult piece' of the puzzle to make it a reality.
But he says there is still one more hurdle with federal funding before it is confirmed.
Dilkens says 95% to 98% of students who attend law school at the University of Windsor are not from Windsor-Essex.
"When they come here, they have to find accommodations and live here, so having a faculty like that downtown is so important because it really is a critical piece to downtown redevelopment and getting more folks to live there," says Mayor Dilkens.
But he quickly points out, this is only the start of the exciting news.
"There is more exciting news to come, this is not even the best part of the puzzle so, this is a critical piece but there is more news to come which is even more exciting."
University of Windsor President Dr. Alan Wildeman says this is an investment from the province, regardless of what party forms government after the June election.
"One of the first things we did was be in touch with the province and say is this an election promise," he says. "We received assurances that it was a commitment from them."
Dr. Wildeman says he would like the federal government to be an equal partner in the project and envisions the Paul Martin building acting as a 'legal education hub.'
But he stresses, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in that building.
"You can't take that building as it is right now and just say lets move in and now it is a law school. It requires a major rethink, major renovations inside, you are looking at classrooms and offices, a moot court, all the technology."
According to Team Lead on Issues Management and Media Relations with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development Tany Blazina, "On May 2, 2018, the University of Windsor was advised of the Ministry's intention to provide $20 million in funding in 2019-20 to support the University of Windsor Law School relocation. The funding was approved as part of the recent Ontario budget process."
Back in August, University of Windsor President Dr. Alan Wildeman announced the university was pulling out of plans to take over the Paul Martin building due to the lack of financial support from senior levels of government.
Colonial Building Restoration, out of Scarborough, began the work to restore the facade back in April 2016 and finished the work last year.