Selkirk College has started work on two on-campus housing projects in Nelson and Castlegar, which will add nearly 150 new students beds.
The Castlegar campus will receive 112 new student beds and the Silver King campus will receive 36. Both buildings will provide post-secondary students housing at below-market rates. 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,” Selkirk CEO and president Maggie Matear said in a news release.
“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.
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.
There will be six accessible units, four in Castlegar and two in Nelson.
The provincial government is investing $29.1 million toward the $31.1-million project, with the remaining funding being contributed by the college and Columbia Basin Trust.
Although on-campus housing is available at the Castlegar campus and at the Tenth Street campus in Nelson, the new projects will mean a 71 per cent increase in the college’s overall housing.
Emma Russell, a third-year rural pre-medicine student from Golden who spoke at today’s groundbreaking ceremony, said the availability of housing was critical in her decision to attend Selkirk.
“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,” she said.
“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.”