I’m very pleased to inform you today that UBC will be establishing a new university presence in downtown Kelowna with plans to build a mixed-use building at the former Daily Courier location at 550 Doyle Avenue. The development will feature community-facing academic space, office space and university rental housing.
We have always had an off-campus presence in Kelowna and this new building, in close proximity to many of our community partners working in health, tech, business, and arts and culture, is the logical next step in the evolution of our campus.
The campus leadership team have been engaged in preliminary planning for the new building, but plans have yet to be finalized and approved by the City of Kelowna and UBC. We anticipate it will include 80,000-100,000 square feet of academic space to support community-facing programs and services.
As we’re all aware, the COVID-19 outbreak has created unprecedented health and economic challenges, but this project clearly demonstrates UBC’s commitment to supporting long-term community resilience through education and research. As BC transitions to a phased re-opening of the economy over the coming weeks and months, I’m proud that our campus will play a role in the recovery.
This project is made possible thanks to an agreement with the City of Kelowna whereby the City will purchase a 67-hectare portion of UBCO’s west campus lands to create an enhanced buffer zone around the landfill and contribute to its long-term sustainability. This land sale enabled UBC to purchase the downtown site and establish itself in the city centre, which has long been an ambition for our campus.
I’m very excited that we’ve made these first steps toward fulfilling that ambition and the team looks forward to working with the wider community, and students, faculty and staff to determine exactly what the new space should look like and what needs it should serve.
Prof. Deborah Buszard
UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Principal, UBC Okanagan