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Laurentian opts to sell John Street president’s home

Decision on the president’s home was on the agenda for the closed session of Feb. 17 meeting, as was a term sheet related to the ‘sale of university lands’

Laurentian University has opted to sell the John Street home that has traditionally been occupied by its presidents.

The university’s board of governors made the decision at their Feb. 17 meeting, an internal email distributed by the office of Laurentian’s president Feb. 21 reveals.

The house at 179 John St. “has a long and storied history that dates back nearly 100 years, when its construction was commissioned by Ralph D. Parker, Laurentian University’s first board chair,” states the email.

Since purchasing this house in 1965, the university’s various leaders have hosted thousands of guests and hundreds of important community gatherings. 

It welcomed world leaders, internationally renowned artists, and many celebrated alumni. 

“However, notwithstanding its historical significance, our current and future needs for spaces that support academic excellence and the student experience, supersede holding on to this piece of our past,” the email from the president’s office said.

The email also said “the funds generated from the sale of the home and the annual cost savings on property maintenance will be used to address vital investments to the university’s sustainability that will be identified at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 budget process.”

The decision related to the Laurentian president’s home was dealt with during the closed session of Laurentian’s board of governors Feb. 17, as was another item of interest related to university property. 

That item was entitled on the agenda (see page 2) as “Term Sheet regarding the Sale of University Lands.” 

Late last year, Laurentian finally exited insolvency after 22 months of creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Laurentian’s plan of arrangement to pay out its creditors is to be funded by a pool of cash of up to $53.5 to come from the sale of university real estate to the province of Ontario, as per an agreement last year with the province.

Exactly what assets the province is purchasing has still not yet been publicly revealed, although it appears from the agenda item some movement has been made on the issue.

Last year, Laurentian also reached an agreement with the Art Gallery of Sudbury which means it can sell the John Street Bell Mansion building currently occupied by the gallery, as long as the closing date is not before May 30, 2025.

Also during the Feb. 17 Laurentian board of governors meeting, the university approved $8.4 million in maintenance in the next fiscal year, including $300,000 for the Jeno Tihanyi Olympic Gold Pool.

Heidi Ulrichsen is’s associate content editor. She also covers education and the arts scene.


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