A library renewal project at Coast Mountain College (CMTN) in Terrace will create construction-related jobs for regional businesses and tradespeople.
A $4.4-million capital investment by government is expected to support work that will employ dozens of local tradespeople, from carpenters and electricians to plumbers and heating, cooling, ventilation and air-conditioning specialists who will be needed to complete the project.
“In these challenging times, our government is working to ensure that we are doing everything possible to support British Columbians in every part of the province,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The library renewal project at Coast Mountain College is a long-term investment that will give students dedicated spaces to study and learn and will also provide immediate, well-paying construction work for tradespeople in Terrace. The inclusion of Indigenous design and child-friendly spaces will guarantee a welcoming and inclusive building for generations to come.”
Work to renew and refurbish the flood-damaged Spruce Building on the college’s main campus is expected to begin this summer. In addition to providing students with better access to learning supports, the renewal work will bring the building up to current code standards and improve accessibility for users, along with energy efficiency, air quality and comfort for occupants.
“The library renewal is a very exciting project for our Terrace students who have been accessing library services from a smaller, temporary location since the flood in 2018,” said Justin Kohlman, president, Coast Mountain College. “The new space will not only reflect Indigenous ways of learning and knowing, it will give students and instructors a modern and comfortable space for study, teaching and learning.”
The project design team worked with Coast Mountain’s First Nations Council and sought the input of students to design space that supported the college’s First Nations students in its function and reflection of local First Nations culture. The design includes an Indigenous reading circle crafted from local cedar. The wood ceiling design represents the Skeena river watershed.
The new space will include informal learning spaces that will give students flexible technology-enabled work areas for collaboration, quiet study and research. In addition, it will feature a lab where students can attend non-credit workshops, such as career advising, research methods, resumé writing or receive peer-to-peer tutoring. A designated reading area for children will enable student parents to care for their children and continue to study.
“I think it is really important for the success of students to have adequate places to study. I think it is important to support student success to have a child-friendly environment as well,” said Fawn Wightman, a social services worker, student and mother of three. “The library is where we study, research, have meetings, meet with instructors and/or tutors and get help from our wonderful librarians. I am happy for the students who are going to enjoy a new and much-needed place to study.”
The Spruce Building was built as a classroom block in the 1970s, with a library in the basement. The loss of a dedicated library space after flooding affected the college’s ability to deliver library services, such as learning, technology and research support. Staff who normally work in the library were moved to other areas of the campus, including a temporary pop-up library in the campus’s Cedar Building common area.
For more information on Coast mountain College, visit: https://www.coastmountaincollege.ca/
A backgrounder follows.