Betting on sustained demand

London International Academy announces plans to build a 16-storey dormitory on Horton Street

Photo: An architectural rendering of a new LIA dorm building at 185 Horton Street

DESPITE PANDEMIC UNCERTAINTY, particularly for educational institutions depending on foreign enrolment, the London International Academy, a private international high school that attracts students from around the world, is expanding with plans for a 16-storey dorm facility that will be able to accommodate up to 350 students.

London’s planning committee recently approved the plans for the new building at 185 Horton Street, a project with a $20 million price tag. The development will expand the current three-storey, low-rise building ― called Ivy Hall ―where approximately 120 LIA students are currently housed. The new facility will include common rooms, dorms, kitchens and a gym, according to the school.

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Once completed, the school hopes to accommodate up to 500 students.

LIA also occupies a building at the southwest cornier of King and Richmond streets, where classes are conducted.

The school’s director, Holly Zou, told CBC London they are hoping to capitalize on an increased demand for an international education and programs that help prepare them for further schooling at a Canadian university. They also see the investment as the reaffirmation of the relationship between the academy and the city itself.

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Students attending LIA take high-school classes from the Ontario curriculum and graduate with an Ontario diploma or an International Baccalaureate. LIA has students from about 15 different countries, though most are from mainland China.

“We’re here to stay, and we’re investing in our school and in this part of London,” the school’s principal, Paul Debenham, told CBC. “Most of our students like London. It’s relatively small, the Boys and Girls Club is across the street, the YMCA is just down the street, the Covent Garden Market is next to the school building. My feeling is that the students like living in this city. They have lots of amenities and facilities right at their doorstep.” Betting on sustained demand London International Academy Education Kieran Delamont

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