It's becoming clearly evident that the South East Regional College is on the move. In fact their entire Estevan campus operations are soon to be housed in the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute facility.
That will mean closure of their activities in the building currently being shared with the Estevan Comprehensive School on Spruce Drive while shifting their students, staff and furniture to the Bourquin Avenue location.
It's being done in the name of efficiency, said Jody Holzmiller, interim chief executive officer for the college.
Breaking the leasing agreement with the South East Cornerstone School Division after 14 years at the ECS location should not be an issue.
Shelley Toth, vice-president of finance and administration for Cornerstone, said that in 2010-11 the college paid just under $90,000 for leasing the 16,000 square feet of space that was being used for college classes and activities in the Comprehensive School building.
“The lease is paid monthly and there there is a year-end conciliation. The college used approximately 7.5 per cent of the space at ECS,” said Toth, who added that she didn't think there were any immediate plans as to what is going to happen with the additional space at ECS.
Holzmiller said that all college classes and furniture will be gone from ECS by this summer and that means moving the basic education classes and their two faculty members to the SETI building.
“We are seeking a downtown Estevan location for the Newcomer Centre because transportation can become an issue for some. But we're moving the English as another language classes to the SETI, we have to split them. It's hard to find space for both of them, so we're trying this on a trial basis,” said Holzmiller, referring to the EAL and Newcomer Centre split. “We'll make changes to that later if need be.”
Although the new college facility is now housing much more than energy training courses and activities, the name will remain unchanged, said Holzmiller. It will still be identified as the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute.
Along with basic education classes and EAL services, there will also be counselling services that will move into the SETI while cosmetology classes were transferred to Weyburn over a year ago. Business and university classes had already made the move to the SETI.
Toth said she believed the current leasing agreement between the Cornerstone School Division and the regional college would expire at the end of the fiscal year. The college would be required to only pay a percentage portion of the utilities and maintenance costs according to their actual occupancy and use.
As to what the school division is going to do with the additional 16,000 square feet at ECS seeing as how high school enrolments have not been increasing in step with general population growth, is yet to be determined. Toth speculated that once a new school board is elected this October, they will be charged with that duty.
In the meantime, the regional college has signed an agreement to share head office administrative and campus space with a newly renovated and expanded Weyburn Comprehensive School. That project is currently underway.
Holzmiller said that during the transition period, the Cornerstone board and management have been very co-operative and understanding and she said she expected that for all intents and purposes, the transfer of classes and operations in Estevan to the new 44,000 square foot SETI complex should be completed by the end of August.