Grant Mac expansion shifts focus to downtown

University will fund multi-million dollar art facility by selling Millwoods and Jasper Place campuses.

Grant MacEwan University is putting greater focus on its downtown campus with plans to build a multi-million dollar arts facility.

"MacEwan has started to talk about itself as Edmonton's downtown university," said David Atkinson, university president. "We have to be involved in the whole idea of city building -  creating new facilities in the downtown core."

The new facility will focus on fine- and performing arts programs and would include a gallery, design studios and retail space.

The expansion is expected to cost between $90 million and $100 million.

To pay for the new facility, the university is planning to sell its Millwoods and Jasper Place campuses. Students attending classes in those buildings will be moved downtown.

Atkinson says although they’ll be losing those campuses, the new facility will allow the university to expand their arts programs.

"We're not investing 100 million dollars with the belief that it's going to be the status quo," he said.

Construction on the new facility is scheduled to begin next year.