Lack of housing becoming a problem: HSAD
School still looking for partners and developers to build dedicated residence
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | September 7, 2017|
A 10x10 cabin on Kashagawigamog Lake Road was Scott Walling’s home away from home for four months during a photo arts program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design in 2015.
Despite its size and the absence of running water – which Walling says was just a stone’s throw away if he needed it – the 23-year-old remained in good spirits about his living situation.
And that’s because he had one.
“I applied [for housing] in late August right before school,” he says. “When I found out this place was available, I didn’t even check it out beforehand, I just said ‘yes, I’ll take it.’
Walling found his temporary home, which he paid $500 a month for, on the campus’ housing accommodation list. It contains nearly 50 listings across the municipality for the fall and winter. A few are beyond the township’s borders.
The list can be found on the school’s website and includes names, contact information and details about the home. Accommodations range from single rooms to larger suites with access to the rest of the home, and monthly rents range from $350 per month to $3,600.
Anyone wanting to appear on the list can do so for a $40 fee.
But with nearly 110 students attending the school this fall, accommodating every single student is almost impossible.
That’s why students are often encouraged to jump on the first unit available.
“We’ve lost a few [students] this year,” says Wendy Ladurantaye, the school’s student support services coordinator. “Housing has always been something that has impacted some students’ ability to come here … but it’s something that we’ve really noticed this year.”
It’s not the first time that’s happened either, according to Sandra Dupret, the school’s dean.
“I’m positive we’ve lost several students,” she says.
Jennifer Bain, the campus’ coordinator of art certificate programs, is almost always on the school’s housing accommodation list.
“I’ve allowed extra students in to have them attend school,” says Bain, who’s been letting students stay at her home on Halbiem Crescent since 2006. “It’s heartbreaking when they have nowhere to stay … a student residence would be great.”
The school has talked to at least 10 individuals in recent years, some of whom are local, who have expressed interest in partnering with the school to develop some type of student housing, says Dupret.
And while she wasn’t ready to discuss the details of those conversations, she says there’s significant interest in seeing the school grow through the development of a nearby residence building.
“I think if we can design something that we put out there that is really interesting and appeals to the right person or developer, we’re in business,” she says. “I think this is less of a financial contribution, and more of an investment … an investment with return.”
Early concept designs, drafted by the school’s own coordinator of integrated design, Barr Gilmore, emphasize sustainability and spacious suites. The building could potentially accommodate approximately 30 to 40 students.
But in addition to investors and interested developers, the school needs land to build a residence on.
“The college doesn’t own any land,” says Dupret.
Fleming College hasn’t shown much interest in spearheading development of a student residence at the Haliburton campus, says Dupret, citing the projected cost as major reason why.
But a student housing market analysis, conducted by Customer Relationship Index (CRi) in 2014, highlighted a resounding need for student housing.
More than 80 per cent of summer and full-time students said they would rent suites at a dedicated student residence.
Overall, 65 per cent of students gave their current living accommodations a rating of good or excellent, but many students cited issues with the distance to the school, and a lack of space to work on their art at home.
Most people do their research on the area prior to an open house at the local campus, says Dupret, and understand the housing issue for students.
Parents do get concerned, however, when their child is making the leap from high school to post-secondary and discover there isn’t a student residence on campus.
“That soft entrance to post-secondary gives parents some security,” she says. “But we’re pretty upfront with them. We can help them find a place, but they go quickly. We try to encourage people who have made a commitment to nab that open spot as soon as possible.”
Dupret says people renting their homes out to students deserve big thanks.
“It’s a big deal to open up your home to someone else. They provide a safe space for students … and because those students experienced what Haliburton has to offer, a number of them have made Haliburton their home. That wouldn’t have been possible if they didn’t have somewhere to stay in the first place.”
For more information on off-campus accommodations, visit flemingcollege.ca/school/haliburton-school-of-art-and-design/accommodation.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.