Norval Review Committee
UCC Board Strikes Long-Range Planning Committee on Norval
The board of governors struck an ad hoc committee of the board to consider and make recommendations regarding the 420-acre Norval Outdoor School and the school’s future outdoor education programming. The committee was chaired by Russell Higgins ’81.
Historically, the board has undertaken similar reviews of Norval every five to 10 years, with the last review completed in 2003/4 as part of the campus master planning/greening program.
Bordering Georgetown with 2.5 kilometres of the Credit River flowing through the naturalized area, the Norval Outdoor School has been a significant part of the UCC educational experience for generations of students. With the growing focus on the environment over the past 20 years, the Norval outdoor education program has become a vital offering of the College. A UCC student at the school since Senior Kindergarten will have spent at least 55 days at the Norval campus by the time he graduates.
The issue of urban encroachment near the Norval property has been a persistent concern for the board, and the school remains vigilant in ensuring that this site is well-positioned to continue to meet UCC’s programming requirements.
There’s a major transportation planning process under way in Halton and Peel regions. Some of the scenarios under consideration may have a major impact on the Norval campus, including one possible option that would run a Highway 7 by-pass around the Hamlet of Norval through the UCC property.
As a result of this external planning process and other development-related plans in the area, the board decided that an updated review of the Norval Outdoor School was both timely and essential. The review focussed on the current Norval program as well as on the future goals and plans for outdoor education at UCC.
The Norval Outdoor School continues to be an integral part of the fabric of UCC. The review was comprehensive, with multiple opportunities for members of the UCC community to offer input to the ad hoc Norval review committee.
Norval Long-Range Planning Committee Mandate
The board of governors formed an ad hoc committee of the board to consider and make recommendations regarding the 420-acre Norval Outdoor School and the school’s future outdoor education programming. This committee was referred to as the Norval long-range planning committee and was chaired by board member Russell Higgins ’81.
The committee consulted broadly with the UCC community, conducted a careful review and analysis and made recommendations to the board of governors regarding:
1. the purpose and intent of the school’s outdoor education program;
2. the recent and forecasted trends in outdoor education for youth;
3. a comparative consideration of the outdoor education programs offered by other independent schools;
4. how effective the Norval property is as a venue through which the school’s outdoor education program can be delivered and whether there are significant deficiencies in the Norval property as that venue;
5. the existence of alternative outdoor education options for the school which don’t involve the use of the Norval property. Those alternatives were evaluated with respect to:
a. the relative effectiveness, from a pedagogical perspective, of the Norval outdoor education programming relative to other outdoor education options;
b. the cost-effectiveness of Norval-based outdoor education programming relative to other outdoor education options;
6. whether development trends in the area of the Norval campus are adversely impacting on the school’s outdoor education programming and whether over the longer term such trends will have a material adverse impact on such programming;
7. the contribution of the Norval campus to school culture and history;
8. and whether there are other present or long-term uses of the Norval campus (including revenue-generating uses) other than outdoor education uses.
The committee reported to the board with its recommendations regarding the matters listed above in the spring of 2011.
Read “The Report of the Norval Long-Range Planning Committee.”