B.C. government breaks ground on two new UVic residence buildings

Campus News Provincial

New residence buildings will provide nearly 800 beds

new residence buildings, B.C. government groundbreaking
Vice-President of Finance and Operations Gayle Gorill, Premier John Horgan, and Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training Melanie Mark at UVic. Photo via UVic.

On Monday morning, representatives from the B.C. government came up to UVic to officially announced the construction of two new UVic residence buildings. The two buildings will include nearly 800 beds, with the first building opening in 2022. They will also have classroom space, a conference area, an Indigenous student lounge, a small grocery store, and coffee shops. 

Premier John Horgan and Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark expressed their excitement about the new residence complex.

“Some of these students are living away from home for the first time,” said Mark at the announcement this morning. “We really wanted to build that sense of community.”

UVic is currently constructing two new buildings near the Student Union Building. The new buildings were originally announced in March 2018. Constructing them will require the demolition of the Emily Carr, Margaret Newton and Cadboro Commons buildings. During the construction, a temporary 500-seat Modular Dining Facility will be available.

“At UVic, students are at the heart of what we do,” said Vice-President Finance and Operations Gayle Gorrill. “Victoria has one of the most competitive housing markets in Canada … this project will add much needed housing capacity in our community.”

The first building will feature 398 beds and a dining hall. The second building will include two 225-seat classrooms, a conference space, an Indigenous student lounge, and an additional 385 beds. All together, the residence space will be 345 620 square feet. 

new residence buildings
Architectural rendering accessed via uvic.ca

An update to the Board of Governors in June noted that supply and labour shortage, due to COVID-19, may impact the final completion date and cost of the project. The total cost of the new residence buildings is currently projected at $232.4 million.

The B.C. government’s support of the project is part of their pledge of $450 million to finance at least 5 000 new beds in student housing projects across the province over the next six years. 

The province also recently announced an additional affordable housing project in Victoria. Through the HousingHub program, the province is providing interim construction financing of up to $17.2 million for a five-storey, wood-frame building on Fifth Street. This new investment will provide 64 affordable homes for households with annual incomes between $48,000 and $100,000.

An earlier version of this story indicated the B.C. government announced additional funding. That was not the case, and the article has been corrected.