Downtown community welcomes UWindsor campus plans

Downtown residents and merchants were excited by what they saw of the University’s plans during an open house Thursday at the Windsor Armouries.

“I think the value of my house is going to shoot up,” said Jon Liedtke, whose home on Victoria Avenue is within walking distance of the three buildings slated for the downtown campus. He was one of dozens of community members who turned out to view renderings, speak with University officials, and grill architects on the details.

“We have needed this for years,” Liedtke said. “We’re going to have 1,500 students and faculty down here. Added to the St. Clair College population, it can revitalize the whole area.”

Victoria Rose, general manager of the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market, said a number of her vendors asked her to review the plans for the former bus depot that had housed the market.

“It looks amazing,” she said of the plans to renovate the property as a home for the film production program.

Attendees said they were impressed by the efforts to maintain heritage elements of the buildings. In addition to the bus depot, the Armouries will house a school combining visual arts and music programs, and the Windsor Star complex will house social work and Centre for Executive and Professional Education programs.

Leonae Nichol, a student in the visual arts and the built environment program, said it has been interesting to watch the design process unfold. Thursday was his first time in the Armouries building.

“It is pretty cool to see it in context,” he said. “I want to come back when it’s done just to walk through and see what it’s like in action.”