A new residence building at the University of Victoria is now officially complete, opening a year ahead of schedule with 385 single-room, dormitory-style units for first-year students.
It’s part of a two-phase student-housing project that saw its first building opened in September 2022 with 398 beds and a 600-seat dining hall.
The two buildings together have increased on-campus housing by 25 per cent.
Two older buildings were demolished to make way for the project, which cost $235.9 million — including $127.7 million from the province.
At an event at the legislature to mark the completion, UVic president Kevin Hall said the new building is helping to alleviate pressure on students to find housing in the community, which can be challenging. “We continue to look at ways to make higher education accessible for more students at UVic.”
The new structure, which opened to students in September, is called Sngequ House (pronounced Snga-qu ay-lung), a name gifted by the Songhees Nation from a village in the area now known as Cadboro Bay. The name means “snow patches” in the Lekwungen language.
The first residence is Cheko’nien House (pronounced Chooqw-ngeen ay-lung), the name for what is now Oak Bay.
UVic offers an on-campus housing guarantee for first-year students so they can get used to university life.
The addition of the two newest student residences means the university was able to accommodate all first-year students in the current academic year, along with 1,000 upper-year undergraduate students and graduate students — the highest total ever for that group.
Both buildings are built to global-building standards for sustainability and energy efficiency, which is expected to mean lower energy and operating costs, and used natural stone and wood products in keeping with the provincial CleanBC plan.
Minister of Post-Secondary Education Selina Robinson said creation of more student housing reduces rental-housing pressures in the province, pointing to the province’s increased investment of $575 million over three years and $1.1 billion over 10 years.
Premier David Eby said spots in university residences can fill up quickly, forcing some students to look for off-campus accommodation in the midst of the current housing crisis.
“That’s why our government is building new student housing throughout the province, including at UVic,” he said.
Elsewhere on the Island, 217 student beds are going in at North Island College in a $77.9 million project with $75.9 million in provincial funding, as are 266 beds at Vancouver Island University, an $87.8 million project with $87 million in provincial funding.