The charter class of the Laurentian University School of Architecture in Sudbury takes a seat for the first time on Wednesday — but not without a small amount of risk.
New schools are not eligible for accreditation by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board until they make an application for candidacy for initial accreditation. Then they submit a body of work for inspection.
'Do I want to be one of those students [who] helps create [the] program?' —Architecture school student Danielle Kastelein
That means students who are entering classes at Laurentian this year do so with the knowledge that the school will have to wait several years for the CACB's stamp of approval.
Despite that, Danielle Kastelein said her confidence in the school's management and vision was enough to convince her to sign up.
"It was a big risk for me because, looking at the program, it isn't established yet," she said.
"However, do I want to be part of a school that's established and has a program that's already built for me? Or do I want to be one of those students that helps create that program and helps shape it in a way?"
The founding director of the Laurentian University School of Architecture said Laurentian is the first school in Canada to have to apply for accreditation from the ground-up with the CACB. That's because the board was only granted the authority to certify in 1994 — and the last architecture school to open before that was decades earlier.
Terrance Galvin is also a former president of the accreditation board. He said no architecture school has ever been denied approval, although he acknowledged nothing is ever a sure thing.
Nevertheless, a total of 70 students have decided to take a leap of faith and sign up with Laurentian.
The head of the steering committee for the school, Blaine Nicholls, said he's impressed by the fledgling group.
"They have the courage to start a school without having accreditation, without even being a building there are the time," the retired Sudbury architect said.
"I think this group, my sense, is a really, really good starting group. They've got the courage and the interest. They want to be in the first class at the School of Architecture in Sudbury."