Growing enrolment has P.E.I.'s francophone college mulling a move

Prince Edward Island’s francophone community college is looking build a new campus — complete with student accommodation — in Summerside

Administrators at Collège de l'Île are seeking a location in Summerside

Collège de l'Île's Charlottetown campus on Kent Street (shown) opened in 2012. Its Wellington Adult Education Centre has been in operation since the 1990s. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

Prince Edward Island's francophone community college is looking for a site in Summerside on which to build a new campus.

Since it opened in 1993, Collège de l'Île has been based in Wellington, in the province's francophone Evangeline region. The school has also operated a secondary campus in Charlottetown since 2012.

Darlene Arsenault, the college's acting president, said the school currently rents both of these facilities. She would like to see that change.

"We need a place where we can have all our programs that can be done there, and then have also different programs in Charlottetown," she said.

"We're talking with the federal and provincial government to see what is possible and we've started to move that forward with a consultant that's working on all the details."

Arsenault says having the Collège de l'Île operate out of a larger Summerside campus would help increase the organization's visibility and the public's awareness of their programs. 

"Right now, there's a lot of people who don't really know where the campus is situated and it would be an opportunity to know that there is a French post-secondary education in P.E.I. available," she said.

The college's campus in Wellington, which is currently a rental. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Arsenault said that over the past three years, enrolment at the school has more than doubled. A lot of that growth is coming from overseas applicants. 

"We have a lot of international students that are requesting to come to the college level," she said.

"There's a variety of culture coming to Prince Edward Island — people that want to be integrated in the French community, who want to speak French and learn a trade in French, then from there, go and work in French."

The planned building would include two levels of student residences and another level for classes. Arsenault said she hopes the campus can also include other amenities, such as a corner store, a gym and a room for social gatherings.

The students could live fully in French in this building.— Darlene Arsenault

She said she would also like to see a daycare included in the new facility, both for the use of students with children and the training of students of the school's early childhood educator program.

"The students could live fully in French in this building," she said.

"It would be like a community, to be able to socialize and learn and mingle with the people that are there."

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown


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