Ground has been broken on a much-needed new student housing building at the Okanagan College campus in Kelowna.
It will feature 126 beds and goes right next to the existing student residences at the corner of KLO Road and West Campus Road.
“We know that it can be a stressful time for students to find housing and it can be very challenging to find housing in this region given the high demand,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, who made the announcement on behalf of Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.
Kelowna city council previously rezoned the property to increase the allowable height on the campus from three to six storeys to accommodate the project.
There will be 168 micro-units, four doubles and 10 quad units, plus 67 parking stalls, to supplement parking already available at the adjacent Skaha campus residence.
It will bring total housing on campus to 360 units. Construction of the 216-bed building is slated to be completed in winter 2023.
The Government of B.C. is also funding 100 more beds at the Vernon campus and 60 in Salmon Arm. The total project cost for all three is $67.5 million, with $66.5 million coming through provincial funding.
The Vernon project is anticipated to start later this summer and be completed in early 2024, while the Salmon Arm project is anticipated to start in fall 2022 and be completed in spring 2024.
Vernon is also getting 44 childcare spaces.
“When people want to go for post-secondary education, you know how much time it takes to eliminate the barriers many face. Not everybody is equally fortunate, and then the biggest barrier is child care,” Sandu explained.
The total project cost is $67.5 million, with $66.5 million coming through provincial funding.
By campus, the Province has invested:
- Kelowna, $36.4 million;
- Vernon, $18 million; and
- Salmon Arm, $13.1 million.
“Having a stable and affordable place to live is critical to the success of learners,” said Neil Fassina, president, Okanagan College. “Adding housing at three Okanagan College campuses will foster more inclusive and equitable access to education that will transform the lives of students.”