We are thrilled to share that UBCO Downtown is making significant progress as construction is underway and the final stages of design planning are in progress. Many in our community, both on campus and downtown, will begin to see the product of many years of work and planning coming to fruition.
UBCO Downtown is set to become a premier location for vital health programs such as nursing, social work, and health and exercise sciences as well as making space available for other professional programs from other faculties. We aim to strengthen connections with partners and individuals who benefit from these disciplines and others with over 110,000 square feet of UBC space over eight floors.
The downtown facility will include dedicated spaces for community engagement and collaboration with the downtown community including the local business and non-profit sector. In addition, an art gallery will also provide a platform for showcasing student and community artwork.
This expansion will create a cutting-edge hub for education, research and training, addressing the increasing demand for health-care professionals in the local and provincial communities involving up to 1,000 students from various disciplines.
To address the needs of the increase of students in the downtown core, the new building will include 473 units of university-affiliated rental housing and will include subterranean parking—all thoughtfully designed with sustainability at the forefront of mind. The inclusion of housing within the same structure will offer convenient accommodation options for students and faculty, eliminating or reducing the need for many for daily commuting. UBCO Downtown’s proximity to cycling lanes and direct mass transit routes will further encourage sustainable transportation choices.
We are also committed to minimizing waste during the construction process. For instance, during the excavation of the underground car park, extracted fill will be transported and deposited at the upper bench behind the Purcell building. This forward-thinking approach will provide needed fill for slope stabilization, ensuring the area’s ability for utilization in future UBCO development and minimizing waste generation. This project will start with the fill moving to campus at the end of June 2023 and will continue until April 2024. Students, faculty and staff will see several loads of fill per day coming to campus via the gravel storage yard north of H lot. This will not impact campus operations in any way.
These sustainability efforts lay the foundation for an exciting chapter for UBCO and the city as we eagerly anticipate the completion of UBCO Downtown in 2027, reflecting the time needed for a project of this size, embracing integration within the vibrant downtown Kelowna community and joining our new neighbours.
Associate Vice-President, Finance and Operations