$10.8 million budget surplus and 24% enrolment growth fuels expansion plans at Centennial College

TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - At a time when many Canadian colleges and universities are running budget deficits and some are weighing program closures, Centennial College has delivered a surplus that will allow it to meet its long-term objectives.

As a result of strong enrolment growth and cost control, Centennial ended its fiscal year with a budget surplus of approximately $10.8 million. Ontario's first public college surpassed all of its 2009-10 enrolment targets with international visa student enrolment soaring by 71%, domestic enrolment growth of 10.5%, and Second Career program enrolment of 1,745 students - the largest in Ontario. Overall, Centennial's full-time enrolment expanded by 24.2% in 2009-10.

The surplus will fund new programs and enhanced student services, and provide some funding increases in other key areas. To support its enrolment growth, Centennial plans to invest in its human capital by hiring 59 full-time employees.

Centennial is responding to the need for more teaching space by acquiring the Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies (SCAS) from the Toronto District School Board in time for September classes. The building, which is situated at Centennial's Progress Campus, will provide classroom and lab capacity for 1,900 students. The purchase and retrofit is budgeted to cost $15.1 million.

The LEED-certified Library and Academic Facility, under construction at Progress Campus, will provide space for a further 1,900 students when it opens next year. Funded in part by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) and the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), the $52.5-million addition will form the new "front door" of the flagship campus.

In addition, Centennial students can look forward to making use of the Athletic and Wellness Centre next year, a state-of-the-art renewal and expansion of the existing Progress Campus gym. Its $22.3-million budget is administered by the Centennial College Student Association Inc. and was approved by student referendum.

Centennial is proposing an $18.5-million investment in Ashtonbee Campus, which will bring a new library, student services space and upgrades to the gym and fitness facilities. Other planned expenditures include updated campus safety and security systems, Smart Classroom technology and new laboratory equipment.

In addition to its budget surplus, Centennial has grown its endowment fund by 30% this year, for a total of $10.5 million set aside for bursaries and scholarships.

For further information: Media contact: Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer, Centennial College, (416) 289-5000, ext. 7142, mtoljagic@centennialcollege.ca