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Sault economic development fund boosting university programming

City providing $400,000 for Algoma U School of Business and Economics
An artist's rendering provided by architecture firm Lebel & Bouliane depicts what Algoma University’s new School of Business and Economics might look like once completed. (Supplied image)

Algoma University’s School of Business and Economics is getting a $400,000 boost from the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

The funding, which comes from the city’s Economic Development Fund, will support the $5.2-million project, which was launched last July.

In granting the capital, Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO of community development and enterprise services, said the purpose behind the new school aligns well with FutureSSM, a multi-pronged community development plan to improve the city’s cultural vitality, economic development and diversity, environmental sustainability, and social equity.

“The FutureSSM community development plan identified the importance of growing our post-secondary institutions, supporting our youth, growing entrepreneurship and attracting newcomers to the community,” Vair said in a March 20 news release.

“This project addresses all of these important goals.”

The school said the funding would provide new training opportunities for industry, government and small businesses, including post-graduate certificate programs, customized training packages, and future MBA studies.

Algoma University President Asima Vezina called the business and economics program “one of the fastest growing programs in our university, and this increased enrollment is (having) and will continue to have a tremendous impact on our local economy.”

The school’s current impact on the local economy is $8.73 million, and that’s expected to increase to $14.5 million with its expansion, bringing with it a larger and more skilled talent pool, attraction of professionals and families from around the world, and increasing overall tourism within the community.

Construction on the project is expected to start in the spring of 2020.