Wolfville’s Acadia University will have up to 300 more students living on campus, thanks to a $2.7-million repayable loan from the province, announced today, May 24. Cutten House residence is being renovated to upgrade the layout, plumbing and ventilation, including new washrooms, showers and change facilities, carpets and paint. “Government knows that universities play a vital role in the economy and cultural fabric of Nova Scotia,” said Education Minister Ramona Jennex, on behalf of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More. “This investment is about ensuring more students, the province’s next generation of young leaders, have a comfortable and safe place to live and study, to achieve their full potential and improve their social and educational experience at this university.” Residences provide operating revenue for the buildings and other on-campus services. “Our growing student population has put pressure on our residence capacity, so re-opening Cutten House has been a priority,” said Ray Ivany, president and vice-chancellor of Acadia. “Our first-year student numbers have increased by 30 per cent in the last three years and we simply could not handle the demand for on-campus housing with Cutten off-line. “The province has been very supportive of our need to expand our campus housing capacity as one means of accommodating increased enrolment and a significantly larger on-campus student population.” About half of Acadia’s students are from out of province and more than 10 per cent are from outside of Canada. First-year students often want to live on campus. “We are extremely excited to be reopening Cutten House as it will only further contribute to the already strong Acadia residence community,” said Matt Rios, president of the Acadia Students’ Union. “Cutten is a residence with a great tradition of spirit and community, values that embody Acadia’s campus as a whole. We here at the ASU look forward to seeing students moving into Cutten and the contributions they will make to the greater Acadia community.” The Cutten House investment is one example of provincial financial support available to universities, over and above their annual operating grants. The funding also provided work for Nova Scotians. Another example is the $25-million Innovation and Excellence Fund, part of a three-year agreement between the province and universities. It helps universities find permanent reductions in operating costs while maintaining high quality educational programs. Acadia received $125,000 from the fund for energy efficiency upgrades and to study converting to natural gas. It will also benefit from three university system studies into operating efficiencies.