As part of its on-going search for new residence space, McGill University has entered an agreement to purchase the Renaissance-Montreal Hotel, located a few blocks from the downtown campus on Avenue du Parc (Park Avenue).
As part of its on-going search for urgently needed new residence space, McGill University has entered an agreement to purchase the Renaissance-Montreal Hotel, located a few blocks from the downtown campus on Avenue du Parc (Park Avenue). It is expected that the building will be ready for August, in time to welcome members of the incoming class of 2003.
"We are both happy and tremendously relieved to have found a building that's in good condition whose location will allow students to attend classes, use the library and benefit from campus life without having to travel long distances every day," says Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. "Student residences are an important part of the University's attraction to young people, especially those from the rest of Canada and around the world. Students from outside Quebec make a tremendous contribution to the city's intellectual, cultural and economic vibrancy, and we must do everything we can to provide them with the support they need and deserve."
Pressure on the University to increase residence space has increased dramatically in recent years. A dozen years ago, its residences accommodated a substantial number of upper-year students, as well as first-year students. Five years ago, the space barely sufficed to accommodate first-years only -- though McGill could still offer a residence guarantee to them. Now residence space is guaranteed only to scholarship students, and to young people from out-of-province under the age of 18. [Macdonald Campus in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue is an exception: residence accommodation is guaranteed on that campus for those pursuing their studies there.]
Vacancy rates have dropped significantly in Montreal in recent years, and this has compounded the problem of trying to find student housing, says Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Morty Yalovsky. "We believe that the space freed up with the purchase and renovation of the Renaissance-Montreal Hotel will be a big help in countering some of this pressure on the Montreal market -- and release more low-cost housing options for others in the city."
There are approximately 1,750 students living in McGill residence accommodation, dispersed over a variety of dormitory and apartment-style housing, as well as shared facilities. An additional 650 beds will now be added, thanks to the purchase of the new building.