St. Clair College president John Strasser said the school always tried to accommodate the Windsor symphony. (Steven Bull/CBC News)

The president of St. Clair College isn't particularly pleased with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra's decision to move into the Capitol Theatre.

The symphony previously rented the Chrysler Theatre at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.

President John Strasser said the organization owes the college more than $60,000 in back payment and that the two had already negotiated a schedule through the year 2014.

"It’s a little bit shocking from our perspective. To have this done at this particular time will certainly cause us some problems," Strasser said. "We’ve tried to accommodate them in preference to all the other people who want to put on perform at the Chrysler Theatre. But we will adjust and move forward."

Windsor symphony executive director Jeth Mill said his organization and the city had been in discussions for "several months."

"The city had asked us to keep it very confidential. We didn’t know until very recently if we were going to be successful," Mill said.

Strasser said he hopes the symphony, which stores a large amount of equipment at the centre, plans on paying the college back as soon as possible.

"More importantly, they have owed us that money for a considerable amount of time," Strasser said. "That affects 8,000 students. And to the extent that those students are basically supporting the Windsor symphony, I’m not happy with that."

Mill said the Windsor symphony intends to pay the money back.


Windsor Sypmphony Orchestra executive director Jeth Mill said his organization is now in good financial shape. (Steven Bull/CBC News)

"We do plan to make good our obligation to the college and are working out a payment schedule," Mill said.

MIll said he has a meeting with the college scheduled for Feb. 7 to discuss a number of things, including that amount of back rent which they have in their books as a bill payable.

Mill doesn't consider it a big issue. He considers it an outstanding bill they will pay.

The City of Windsor annually gave the symphony a $300,000 grant. More than half that grant was used to pay rent to St. Clair College.

As part of the new deal with the city, the grant money will dry up by 2015.

Mill said his organization is now in good financial position.

It will take over operation of the Capitol Theatre for at least 10 years. The city will spend $2 million in renovations but the symphony will be able to collect rent from other tenants and performances.

"We will benefit from the rental income both from the retail spaces and the users of the theatre," Mill said.

With files from Steven Bull, CBC News