With the number of students attending post-secondary institutions on the rise, the province is soliciting proposals for new undergraduate campuses to meet that demand.

Universities interested in expanding and communities interesting in hosting campuses have until late September to make their pitches – and at least one of the bidders has a local connection.

The Town of Milton first gauged the interest various schools had in locating there in 2008.

At the time, Mayor Gord Krantz says, Wilfrid Laurier University was among the most serious contenders – but they wanted something more than the seven-acre site the town had proposed.

Earlier this week, after several years of discussion, town councillors approved the gifting of 150 acres on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment to Laurier – provided the province approves the campus.

“The province is well aware (of our goal). We’ve not let them forget,” Krantz says.

“This is a growing community, and will be for many years to come. It’s just one more piece of the puzzle.”

Laurier president Max Blouw says the school hopes to build a “deep green campus” – meaning, in his words, “having as low a carbon footprint for the infrastructure as we can find.”

Blouw says the school projects to have 2,500 students at the campus, with a curriculum that – other than a unique focus on sustainability – doesn’t stray far from Laurier’s traditional offerings.

“The backbone of whatever we do there will be in the keeping of the traditional liberal arts,” he says.

And why Milton?

Blouw says the key is its location on the blossoming west side of the Greater Toronto Area, which is barely touched by Ontario’s universities.

“The demand for post-secondary education is going to be extraordinary there,” he says.

It is believed at least two other proposals for new campuses will be submitted to the province by the September deadline.