Nearly 150 Selkirk College students at the Castlegar and Nelson Silver King campuses can look forward to new on-campus housing with construction underway on the new student housing buildings.
“Today brings us one step closer to providing 8,000 new student housing spaces across British Columbia,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “With over 97% of new bed spaces funded or completed, we’re building a more inclusive and affordable education system that benefit students and reduces barriers to post-secondary education.”
The Castlegar campus will receive 112 new student beds and the Nelson Silver King campus will receive 36 new beds. Both buildings will provide post-secondary students housing at below-market rates: 35% lower in Nelson; and 16% lower in Nelson. Housing is expected to be available to students by January 2024.
“Students need a place to call home that is affordable and allows them time and space to study,” said Maggie Matear, president and CEO, Selkirk College. “We recognize how important access to housing is for young people and how integral it is to their post-secondary experience. I’m proud today to make a difference for generations of students to come."
Both student housing buildings will be constructed with mass timber and modular wood materials, aligning with B.C.’s Wood First Initiative. Space on the main floors of each building will have fully accessible communal areas that include study spaces, kitchens, dining spaces, living and game rooms, and laundry facilities. Each building will feature a dedicated spiritual space for reflection, which incorporates Indigenous traditions. The Castlegar campus will have four and the Nelson Silver King campus will have two accessible units, creating a total of six accessible units for independent living on Selkirk College campuses.
Aligned with the Province’s CleanBC plan, the buildings will be constructed using natural products. Both buildings will achieve Step 4 of the BC Energy Step Code and meet CleanBC’s energy-efficiency requirements for new buildings.
Government is investing $29.1 million toward this $31.1-million project, with the remaining funding being contributed by the college and Columbia Basin Trust. This student housing project is part of Homes for BC, a 10-year housing plan with a total of 8,000 new student beds to be built on campus by 2028. To date, 7,763 new beds are open or underway.
Work on this project helps progress StrongerBC’s Future Ready Plan, which is making education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.
Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston and Premier's Special Advisor on Youth –
"Building additional student housing means more students can focus on what is important – their education. By breaking ground for new housing at both the Castlegar and Nelson campuses, our government is increasing on-campus housing at Selkirk College by 71%. As the primary academic institution in the West Kootenay-Boundary region, this investment at Selkirk College ensures more students can access quality education close to home.”
Emma Russell, student, Selkirk College –
“As a young student from a rural community attending post-secondary for the first time, having specialized housing on-campus eased my nerves during a very stressful time. Living on campus has been essential for my ability to attend classes and labs, giving me the housing security I need to focus on my studies. Adding more housing at Selkirk College will be beneficial for future students, who will arrive to find others in the exact same situation, and provide a community and support system unlike anything else.”
Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust –
“Through this project, the stock of affordable housing will increase, the student housing makes inclusivity a priority and the buildings will be built to minimize their effects on climate change. We are thrilled to partner with Selkirk College and the provincial government on this project, which will make a huge positive impact on students, communities, businesses and the region as a whole.”
For more about Selkirk College, visit: https://selkirk.ca/
A backgrounder follows.