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UOIT takes ownership of Regent Theatre, construction on new building to begin soon

OSHAWA, ON. - The City of Oshawa's ongoing downtown revitalization received a significant boost today, with the announcement that an agreement has been finalized to acquire the historic Regent Theatre and the undeveloped property immediately to the north of it.

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) will assume ownership and operation of the theatre, while Regent Square Property Corp. will build a new 30,000-square-foot, five-storey building on the undeveloped property and lease it to UOIT for classroom, lab, office and other learning areas. Scheduled to open in September 2010, the new facility is part of a comprehensive plan to move the university's Faculty of Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies, which is growing in size and reputation, to downtown Oshawa. An urban campus in the heart of the city is an ideal fit for a faculty dedicated to preparing its students to be critical thinkers and social justice innovators.

"We are very excited to be extending our presence in the downtown core given that our experiences with our Faculty of Education location on Simcoe Street have surpassed expectations for our students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, president of UOIT. "When you consider the number of universities in Canada and the U.S. that have located in city centres, we know this is a natural area for post-secondary studies. In addition, with the new building to be located only steps from the new Durham consolidated courthouse, professional services, social service providers and other agencies, our Communication, Criminology and Justice, Legal Studies and Public Policy students will benefit greatly from hands-on, real-world exposure to their fields of study."

The new location will also provide students with more opportunities to put theory into practice and benefit from access to state-of-the-art research centres and forensic psychology labs, as well as digital media labs and a specialized social sciences and humanities library. Students will be involved and consult on plans for development of the new building and their move downtown. This includes establishing a Student Advisory Committee to the Dean that will generate ideas to create an enhanced learning and research environment, as well as facilitate a smooth transition to the new location.

UOIT will continue to gather the information necessary to develop a comprehensive operations plan for the Regent Theatre. The process will include determining what renovations and refurbishments are required to bring the theatre up to a quality standard so that it can be used as a large lecture theatre for UOIT students and for community and cultural events during the evenings and on weekends throughout the year. There are no current job opportunities available regarding the operation of the theatre; those will be posted closer to the reopening, which is expected in Spring 2010.

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Tony Doyle
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Ontario Tech University
905.721.8668 ext. 2209