Laurentian University is closing its satellite campus in Barrie, Ont., after 15 years of operations.

The decision was made by the University Board of Governors on Friday.

The university will no longer accept first year students starting this fall. The school's arts and management programs will no longer be resourced as of May 2017, and social work programs will stop in May 2019.

A complete exit is planned for May 2019. 

The university's president said every student currently enrolled at Laurentian's Barrie campus will have the chance to complete a degree and graduate.


Laurentian president Dominic Giroux says the province refused to give the university the space it needs. (CBC)

The move follows efforts by the university to expand in Barrie and offer what it called "a significant number" of new cutting-edge programs. However, last year, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities chose to invest in an extension of York University in Markham, instead of accepting Laurentian's proposal in Barrie. 

In a news release, President Dominic Giroux said the ministry then invited Laurentian in July, 2015 to take part in a facilitation process with the other post-secondary institutions in Simcoe County. He said they participated in this process in good faith, expecting to maintain academic control of the programs, and to have adequate space to deliver them.  

Instead, said Giroux, the ministry wanted Georgian College to teach the first two years of Laurentian's arts degrees, while Laurentian faculty would teach years three and four. He said the space offered to Laurentian was also not suitable. For those reasons, he said, the Board decided that remaining in Barrie was not an option.

In the release, Laurentian said it has 696 students in Barrie. The 186 students currently enrolled in the bachelor of social work program will be able to complete their degree in Barrie by April 2019. The 291 students currently enrolled in third and fourth years of the bachelor of arts, the bachelor of business administration and the bachelor of commerce programs will be able to complete their four-year degree in Barrie by April 2017. The remaining 219 students will be presented with a range of options, including completing their degrees in Sudbury with financial support, finishing their courses online or transferring to another university. 

All full-time faculty will be offered jobs in Sudbury, said Giroux.

Information sessions will be held for students and staff starting on Sat. Feb. 13 at Laurentian's office on the Georgian College Campus in Barrie.