The University of Windsor was officially handed the keys to the Windsor Star building on Friday outside of the Windsor Star building downtown and the occasion was marked with a mass outdoor photo shoot.
University of Windsor President Alan Wildeman was handed the keys by Windsor Star publisher Marty Beneteau, and was were joined by students, faculty, staff and community supporters.
Windsor’s own “The Stilt Guys” were dressed in University of Windsor Lancers jerseys and they danced around with the Lancer’s Mascot to the music of a live jazz ensemble.
“Today is the day that we officially transfer the keys,” explained University of Windsor President Alan Wildeman, adding “the deal is now closed on the transfer of the property from the Windsor Star to the University and this is a chance to celebrate and to give the community a sense of what it will be like to have the University of Windsor down here.”
Ward 3 City Councilor Fulvio Valentinis expressed excitement at the event nothing that bringing people into the core is a benefit for communities. “You want to revitalize downtown, these are the kind of institutions and places you need. It’s going to animate the downtown, invigorate it, and it will spur other development.”
“It’s a huge step for the University,” explained Michael Khan, Dean of Human Kinetics, adding, “the great thing about it is that it brings the university downtown while defining the partnership between the University and the City, which is a huge step forward.”
Valentinis explained that both the business and downtown communities are excited at the move. “It’s not just that they’re moving downtown, they’re taking some heritage buildings and bringing them back to life and enhancing them for the long-term.”
Priya Das is a 4th year communication student who sits on the Board of Directors for the University of Windsor Student Association, and she commented that the handing over the keys was a positive celebration because “it facilitates more learning in a healthy environment downtown. I’m in support of the expansion of our campus because it will allow more students to delve into a better environment than just the campus.”
With renovations beginning in the new year to transform the former Windsor Star complex into the new home of social work and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education, Wildeman stated that “sometime in the fall of 2014 we expect it to be done.”
Chief Communications Officer for the University of Windsor Holly Ward explained that a similar mass outdoor photo shoot would be taking place when the University officially receives the keys to the downtown Armouries and the former Bus Depot.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.