Nearly 800 University of Victoria (UVic) students will be able to make themselves at home in new on-campus homes by 2022.
“Today, we are breaking ground on almost 800 new homes for UVic students,” said Premier John Horgan. “It’s part of B.C.’s first-ever student housing initiative, which we developed to help meet a significant and long-standing need. These new housing units are great news for students and will help take some pressure off the local rental market.”
Premier Horgan was joined by Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training; and Gayle Gorrill, vice-president of finance and operations, UVic, on behalf of Jamie Cassels, president, UVic; in a groundbreaking on campus where the two new student housing facilities and a dining hall will be located.
“Today, we are celebrating an important milestone for students at UVic and fulfilling our government’s commitment to build 5,000 new student housing units across the province,” Mark said. “After years of neglect and calculated inaction on this file by the previous government, I am proud to say that this new state-of-the-art sustainable student housing project is ahead of schedule and soon nearly 800 students will have an affordable place to call home.”
Amenities will include:
- 783 beds, including 621 new beds and 162 replacement beds;
- a 600-seat dining hall, commercial kitchen, small grocery and new coffee shop to replace Cadboro Commons and provide more food offerings with healthy options; and
- a wide range of meeting rooms, informal gathering places, classrooms and a designated Indigenous student lounge.
A rejuvenated outdoor area will connect the new housing and dining hall to the centre of campus. Other amenities include student group and study spaces, communal social spaces, laundry facilities and secure indoor bicycle storage.
A temporary 500-seat modular dining facility will be operational from September 2020 to July 2022 for students while the new dining hall is under construction. The new hall is expected to open in 2022.
“With 75% of our students arriving from outside Greater Victoria, it has long been a strategic priority for UVic to provide more on-campus housing,” Gorrill said. “Living on campus contributes to the educational experience and success of our students, and we are grateful this project will provide a welcoming home away from home.”
Construction of these new facilities meets LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold and Passive House standards – the most rigorous global building standards for sustainability and energy efficiency – supporting government’s CleanBC initiative.
This is the first major capital project at UVic since a new Campus Plan was completed in January 2016.
CleanBC is a shared priority between government, the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and supports a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s targets.
Rob Fleming, Minister of Education –
“Not only is this project creating important affordable housing for UVic students, it’s also easing rental pressure on the housing market in our region. I’m excited to get these units built and for the community to benefit from our government’s action on this long-standing issue.”
Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head –
“I'm thrilled to see these long overdue student housing projects take shape at UVic. Given that these new buildings will meet both Passive House and LEED Gold standards, UVic and the Province are showing their commitment to innovative low-carbon solutions. I look forward to these new buildings being models for other educational construction projects in the years ahead.”
Alyssa Husband, fifth-year student, faculty of education, UVic –
“Living on campus is the perfect place to become involved in campus culture, find a community of like-minded students only steps from your door and ease the transition into university life. Looking back on my first year, there were so many new experiences and opportunities I hadn’t even imagined. I’m so glad I made the decision to live in residence and be a part of the UVic community right off the bat. With more housing options right on campus, I know future students will have a great experience at UVic.”
- UVic has approximately 22,000 students with 75% attending from outside the Greater Victoria area.
- The Emily Carr, Margaret Newton and Cadboro Commons buildings are being deconstructed to accommodate the new student housing and dining hall.
- The Province is providing $128 million towards the total cost of $232.4 million – $98 million from the Student Housing Initiative for the beds and a separate loan of $25 million toward half the cost of the dining hall. The remaining $5.2 million will be provided as a capital grant. Post-secondary institutions are expected to self-finance about 25% of costs with loans repaid through rental income.
- This project’s completion date was shortened by one year to fall 2023 as a result of establishing a temporary dining hall, allowing for decommissioning and construction to begin more quickly.
Learn about the Campus Plan for UVic: https://www.uvic.ca/campusplanning/campus-plan/index.php
Find out about Passive House construction: https://www.passivehousecanada.com/about-passive-house/
A backgrounder follows.