After completion dates were delayed more than once, students are finally set to move into emergency temporary on-campus housing built by Thompson Rivers University to address a lack of affordable rentals in the city.
West Gate dormitories will welcome students this weekend — offering private suites with double beds, TVs, mini fridges, microwaves and bathrooms for $500 a month.
The university began taking applications and payment from students looking to live in the 114-unit complex last semester, with an announced move-in date of Jan. 9.
Warren Asuchak, TRU’s associate vice president of campus infrastructure, sustainability and ancillary services, said the pandemic has limited options for student housing, as fewer families are willing to participate in the shared home program.
“We've been having a challenge with student housing on campus,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of students that have been looking for places to live. There's really just not a lot of vacancy in town right now.”
The temporary dormitory is made up of mobile units, not unlike camp accommodations for workers in the oilfield. TRU said it was quick to set up but it won’t be a permenant fixture on campus.
Asuchak said the university is looking at having the structures for the next year, while also looking for other opportunities to address housing challenges.
More modular dorms might be added down the line, Asuchak said, potentially with the help of the provincial government.
“The province recognizing Kamloops does have a serious, serious shortage of housing, particularly low-income housing. The province has just been extremely supportive trying to help us find solutions,” he said.
“It's just sort of part of the solution that we're doing. So I know they're very appreciative of that and they just want to continue to work with us to provide more opportunities for students for housing.”
He said that by bringing more residents onto campus, TRU can remove some of the pressures facing the city’s rental market.
“They [the provincial government] appreciate that we've offered some more beds as well, because every bit that we offer to a student potentially frees up another low cost place elsewhere.”