As principal of the Cumberland Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College Don McCormack can’t help but be exuberant with the announcement the provincial government is building new student housing at the Springhill campus.
“This is transformational news for our campus and for our students,” McCormack said following the announcement of 40 beds by Cumberland South MLA and Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. “This is a game-changer for us and it will secure our future in Springhill for the next 50 to 75 years at least. It will secure our programming.
The provincial government announced on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, a commitment to build a 40-bed residence for the Nova Scotia Community College’s Cumberland Campus in Springhill. NSCC Cumberland principal Don McCormack is shown with retired principal George Laird, Cumberland South MLA and Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton and Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott following the announcement. Darrell Cole – Municipality of Cumberland photo
The facilities will be built on government-owned land at or near existing facilities at each campus. Additional details, including cost and design, will be announced as finalized in the coming months.
The principal said housing is a huge issue with students attending classes at all NSCC facilities and he’s seeing it at the Cumberland Campus.
“As an example, we had three students coming from Halifax to take our plumbing program, but they had to withdraw after two days because they couldn’t find appropriate housing for them to stay here. That’s just one example in one program, but it’s a challenge faced by all our students in all our programs,” McCormack said.
McCormack said the community college is looking forward to working with the provincial government and the Municipality of Cumberland to help stimulate the economy of Springhill and area. When the students leave the college each spring, the beds could made available to support events in the community during the summer months.
“I can see this having enormous potential in Springhill and Cumberland County,” McCormack said.
Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott is excited by what the news means for the community.
“It’s phenomenal news for our county. I can’t stress enough the importance of this facility. It’s going to allow students to come here that don’t have access to vehicles to stay close to campus,” the mayor said. “It’s going to create other beds in the community that people so desperately need and it’s going to ensure the future of the college because people will be able to participate in the programs and stay in the community.”
Springhill and Cumberland County are not unlike other areas of the province that are experiencing a housing shortage. The mayor said opening 40 beds at the college will open 40 beds within the community and help ease the housing situation.
It will also pay dividends in off-season use through the summer.
(From left) Coun. Fred Gould, NSCC Cumberland principal Don McCormack, Coun. Angel McCormick, Cumberland South MLA and Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton, Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott, Coun. Rod Gilroy and Deputy Mayor Mark Joseph were on hand for the announcement of a new 40-bed residential facility for NSCC Cumberland in Springhill. Darrell Cole – Municipality of Cumberland photo
“There are times in the late spring and through the summer when the facility will be vacant. We want to take full advantage of that and have it available to events at the community centre and throughout the area,” the mayor said. “We’ve been talking about this for years and it’s so good to see it’s going to finally happen.”
“It’s huge for Springhill and it’s huge for Cumberland County,” Rushton said. “Forty beds for NSCC Cumberland means 40 beds students aren’t using in the community around Cumberland County that can be freed up for housing initiatives.”
Rushton said the province and NSCC will begin working on the location of the housing unit within walking distance and he’s hoping construction will begin as soon as possible.
“We want to get shovels in the ground so we can get moving forward quickly,” Rushton said.
Springhill resident and businessperson Ryan Reynolds says the announcement has enormous potential for the community because it will create opportunities for hosting events and he’s confident it will enhance the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre.
“The potential for spinoffs is incredible. Everyone in the community is going to benefit from this whether it be businesses or sporting events. It’s going to give us more opportunity to host events,” said Reynolds, who owns East Coast Athlete. “People are come here, stay here and spend money here. There are economic spinoffs and there are development spinoffs for our youth sports. It’s what we need. Hopefully it will be a catalyst to get a lot more things going in Springhill.”