Providence University College's campus will now stretch from the outskirts of the village of Otterburne, Man., to downtown Winnipeg.

The Christian liberal arts university says in a release that it "is pleased to announce the acquisition of the 447 Webb Place property in downtown Winnipeg. The purchase offers a strategic opportunity to enhance the university’s presence in the city while supporting campus expansion for incoming international students taking degrees in business and management."

“We are excited to see Providence return to the city of Winnipeg where it all started 98 years ago,” says Providence’s President Dr. Kenton Anderson. “Our new 87,000 square foot downtown campus will serve as a tremendous complement to our longstanding home base in Otterburne. As a rural/urban entity, Providence is now positioned to serve all of Manitoba and the world with our various innovative programs.”

Providence, formerly known as Winnipeg Bible College (WBC), started in 1925 at 580 Spence Street only a few blocks away from the Webb Place location – a seven-story building which is conveniently situated on the corner of Colony and Ellice and formerly owned by Booth University College (The Salvation Army).

As a condition of the sale, a lease back to Booth University College has been established between Providence and The Salvation Army for a period of one year, allowing current occupants to remain in the building until the Fall of 2024. This provides time for Booth UC to finalize plans to relocate to 290 Vaughan Street.

The top floors of the downtown facility contain private dormitory rooms that Providence can offer as an affordable housing option for many of their international students. Renovations to the building will revitalize classroom and office spaces, as well as student lounges, cafeteria, and chapel.

Providence is an accredited, private Christian institution and is opening this new campus as an expansion of its existing downtown programming where 400 students are currently enrolled in a two-year Associate of Arts (in Business) program, with an anticipated 700 students by Fall 2024. In addition, the university has started a Master of Management program with enrollments open for the Spring 2024 semester.

University College Dean, Catherine Rust-Akinbolaji, says, “Acquiring the Webb Place property will allow us to meet the needs of our growing student body, as we continue to deliver quality education while serving a new community in the heart of Winnipeg’s downtown. It enables us to fulfill our mission of teaching people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service."

Providence Downtown is a business-oriented, teaching-intensive program that offers a range of career-focused courses, equipping students with the tools they need to succeed and lead in business while at the same time fostering a genuine, caring community for students to learn and grow.

“Life is not easy for international students. While studying in Toronto, I became so depressed that I was doubting my decision to come to Canada,” says current student Simran Sahota. “Providence taught me the value of community as they encouraged us that ‘doing things together can make a difference.’ I think all university students have the same goals and visions for success, but it’s when we all respect, care for and help one another in hard times, that we gain confidence and feel empowered to tackle problems and make a  positive impact on the places we live in.”

Providence students, like Simran, are tomorrow’s leaders and they exemplify what is most needed to help revitalize our urban landscapes. Looking future-forward, Providence is excited to expand its presence as an integral member of Winnipeg’s vibrant downtown core community.