Student housing spaces at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will more than double as construction starts on the first on-campus student housing to be added in more than 30 years.
“Together with Okanagan College, we are investing in student housing that will benefit generations of learners who can focus on their studies without worrying about where they will live,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “We are working hard to deliver 8,000 new student housing spaces on campus throughout B.C. by 2028, and to date we have more than 6,800 new spaces open or underway throughout the province.”
This is one of three student-housing projects in the Okanagan. Construction will start later this year on the first on-campus student housing at the college’s Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses. The Province is investing $66.5 million into the three residences. The total project cost is $67.5 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.”
The new housing will increase on-campus accommodations in Kelowna by 216 beds for a total of 360 beds in addition to 100 beds in Vernon and 60 beds in Salmon Arm. A total of 376 spaces for students will be built across the three campuses.
“Over the past two years, living in student housing has helped me to exceed my academic expectations by creating a sense of community that I never knew I needed,” said Connor McGuinness, a student at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus. “The unwavering support I've received from my fellow residents and student housing staff has given me the confidence to tackle the many challenges that have come my way.”
Construction on the Kelowna buildings is expected to be completed in winter 2023. 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.
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee –
“New student housing at Okanagan College will ensure students have affordable and convenient housing options, while reducing some of the pressure on the local rental market. With low vacancy rates in Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm, this is good news for everyone who calls the region home.”
- By campus, the Province has invested:
- Kelowna, $36.4 million;
- Vernon, $18 million; and
- Salmon Arm, $13.1 million.
- More than 500 jobs will be generated by these projects.
For more information about Okanagan College, visit: https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/
For more information on the Homes for B.C. plan, visit: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_homes_for_bc.pdf
A backgrounder follows.