Melanie Mark, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, announces 96 student beds at the Cranbrook campus of the College of the Rockies on Thursday. Trevor Crawley photo

College of the Rockies to add 96 beds for student housing

$17.7 million project of six cottege-style buildings to be completed by 2020

The provincial government announced the addition of 96 student beds in six cottege-style buildings to be built at the College of the Rockies Cranbrook campus and open next year.

Melanie Mark, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, unveiled the project on Thursday, which will benefit students as well as allleviate the rental vacancy rate in Cranbrook.

“The importance of this announcement is this is going to be a deal-breaker for communtiy. I know that there’s a really, really low rental vacancy rate — I think it’s 1.2 per cent,” said Mark, addressing a crowd of dignitaries and college students and staff.

“…College of the Rockies is a destination of choice and I think you’re doing amazing things in the community.”

Mark noted she toured the province’s post-secondary institutions when she was appointed in her cabinet position in 2017, and heard student concerns on a lack of housing province-wide, not just in the Lower Mainland.

READ: COTR receives funding to enhance college experience

The project will be consistent with CleanBC priorities and include barrier-free first-floor units, with projected monthly rents 30-40 per cent below current market rates in Cranbrook.

The housing plans included consultations with Indigenous students, which helped create the designs that incorporated a balance of privacy — individual bedrooms and bathrooms — with common gathering areas in kitchens and living rooms.

The province will contribute $11.6 million, the college will kick in $6.1 million and the Columbia Basin Trust will fund $1 million.

Construction is expected to break ground in the summer, and projected to create 53 direct and 43 indirect jobs.

“This project is an investment in our students, an investment in Cranbrook, because it will mean nearly 100 students won’t be competing for Cranbrook rentals, and an investment in the future because it will be energy efficient,” said David Walls, COTR president and CEO, in a press release.

“It’s exciting to think of the increased vibrancy and sense of community at the college from more students living on campus.”

The Cranbrook campus of the College of the Rockies includes 1,800 students, with approximately half from outside the Cranbrook area.

Lauren Spurge, a third-year student in the education program, touted the importance of getting into residence at Purcell House, the only existing student residence on campus.

“I was excited to learn that the college will be able to double the amount of resident spaces on campus as a result of this funding. If I hadn’t been successful getting into residence, my experience here would have been much different and I would have felt much more isolated.

“I’m happy to know that soon more students will experience the benefits of living on campus and I can’t wait to see it.”

READ: College teams up for research project on avalanche safety

Mark says the investment in student housing at the College of the Rockies follows three previous student housing announcments that will see 1,261 units built at B.C. post-secondary institutions.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka welcomed the news.

“It’s extremely important,” Shypitka said. “It’s something that’s been down the pipe for a long time, it’s been one of the worst-kept secrets, I think, but it was a good secret. Affordability and the livability in Cranbrook is really important, it’s key. We are one of the number one attraction destinations for advanced education in Canada.

“…This just further facilitates that need, and it also addresses our affordability issues.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo celebrates volunteers, sponsors

The Cranbrook Rotary Club honoured volunteers and sponsors of the Kootenay Rockies… Continue reading

Aquatic centre to remain closed for the next month

City staff say the closure is due to ongoing roof construction at Western Financial Place

Regional chambers meet with provincial government staff

Regional representatives with Kootenay chambers of commerce recently met with the provincial… Continue reading

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

Registration open now for Kootenay Up and Down disc golf tournament

PDGA sanctioned, B-tier tournament takes place Oct. 5-6 at Wycliffe and Cranbrook courses

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Driver of RV in Hosmer collision reported in stable condition

Collision occurred in Hosmer on September 5 and involved a semi truck, an RV and a school bus

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

Most Read