The Haliburton School of Art + Design (HSAD) has been spared after parent entity, Fleming College, announced widespread program cuts at its Lindsay and Peterborough campuses last week.

President, Maureen Adamson, confirmed April 24 that 29 full-time programs are heading for the scrapheap – 16 in Peterborough and 13 in Lindsay, including several renowned geographic information system (GIS) and environmental courses. This comes after months of uncertainty, with Fleming one of dozens of post-secondary institutions impacted by new restrictions on overseas students.

In January, immigration minister Marc Miller said the federal government will cap the number of international study permits it issues over the next two years. Approximately 360,000 new undergraduate permits will be issued in 2024 – a 35 per cent reduction from last year.

Fleming had around 3,500 international students for the 2023/24 school year, accounting for approximately half the student body. Adamson, in a statement to media, said the cuts were necessary given the college is anticipating a substantial drop in international student numbers come fall.

“The related significant reduction to our budget has had a profound impact on college operations, and we are moving quickly to stabilize our institution and prepare for future years,” Adamson said.

Speaking to The Highlander last week, HSAD dean Xavier Masse said the future looks bright for Fleming’s campus in Haliburton.

He confirmed all 10 of its full-time programs will return in the fall, including popular artists blacksmith, glassblowing, ceramics, jewelry making, and fine arts courses. HSAD is also expanding its offerings in continuing education, offering more options for would-be students.

Residence going ahead, no program cuts

“I think it absolutely makes sense to have a school for fine arts in the community, to have these great programs and to maintain them, especially knowing Haliburton County is a very artistic community itself,” Masse said. “Our campus has a great reputation and a bit of an aura that transcends this community.”

Masse credited the school’s faculty for developing programs that are highly sought each semester.

“I think it’s a big draw – having a highcalibre group of instructors and state-ofthe-art studio space… if you look at that combination it makes for quite a unique campus, not only in Ontario but across Canada,” he added.

The dean said he was excited by the changes coming to continuing education. Courses will now run from February to November, expanded from summer-only. Masse said there will be approximately 250 programs available this year, with new offerings in digital media and video game design.

Residence build ongoing

Drew Van Parys, Fleming’s executive vice president of corporate services and marketing, confirmed the college is proceeding with its student residence build in Haliburton.

Workers broke ground on the 47-unit project in late 2023, but there was concern it could be delayed or cancelled after Adamson, in January, said Fleming would be assessing all options following the federal government’s international student bombshell.

“After a full analysis, it was determined the best path forward was to proceed with this important addition to the Haliburton campus,” Van Parys said. “The federal limits on international students will not have a significant impact on our plans in Haliburton.”

Construction is on-schedule, with Van Parys saying most of the framing work has been completed for the two new buildings. He said the college is planning for occupancy in early 2025.

The $16 million project has been described as a “game-changer” by Masse, with the two, three-storey facilities adding to HSAD’s footprint within Glebe Park.

“It’s a massive, massive project for us… that’s why we’re trying to be a little more strategic about our programming, to make sure we have great options for people – because once this residence opens there will be more opportunities for students to come here,” Masse said.

For a full list of program options in Haliburton, visit haliburton-school-of-art-and-design.