Work begins on College of the Rockies student housing facility

The five three-storey cottage-style five-plex buildings will be situated at the east end of the College, near current housing

A conceptual drawing of one of five buildings that will make up the new College of the Rockies residence facility.

A conceptual drawing of one of five buildings that will make up the new College of the Rockies residence facility. — Image courtesy Sahuri + Partners Architecture Inc.

Work is underway on College of the Rockies’ new 96 bed student housing facility. Infrastructure for an access road and underground servicing, which will be put in place by Cranbrook firm MacKay Contracting, has begun, with building construction expected to commence in November.

The new access road will extend College Way to the east and north to the building site, providing access to the new student housing buildings.

Construction management firm Chandos is on site and will be overseeing the new build.

The five three-storey cottage-style five-plex buildings, conceived as part of the College’s Master Plan, will be situated at the east end of the College, near the current Purcell House student housing building.

Construction activity will necessitate relocation of the existing Community Forest entrance structure and some changes to trails currently on College property. The College is working closely with the Cranbrook Community Forest Society and the Wildhorse Cycling Club to oversee the structure relocation and trail re-creation.

“We expect the impact on Community Forest users to be minimal,” said Allan Knibbs, College of the Rockies Director, Facilities. “The existing trails located on College property will be relocated to ensure access to the Forest remains, and protective fencing will be erected around the construction zone to ensure the safety of those recreating in the area.”

Though some tree removal is expected during construction, Knibbs says the aim is to minimize the effect on the forest setting.

“Though significant thinning was done on College property a few years back to manage wildfire risk, some additional trees will be removed for construction. These buildings will be situated amongst the trees and we are committed to keep the forested area as intact as possible.”

The new student housing facility is intended to welcome its first occupants for September 2020 with full occupancy available for January 2021. The project was announced in March by the Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training as part of its province-wide commitment to student housing. The Province is investing $16.4 million in the $22.5 million project. In addition, the Columbia Basin Trust is contributing $1 million.             

About College of the Rockies

For more than 40 years, College of the Rockies has provided post-secondary education that meets the needs and aspirations of the people, industry and businesses of our region. Each year, we welcome more than 10,000 full-time and part-time students into a full range of programs, including: skilled trades, university studies, adult upgrading, early childhood education, health and human services, business, office administration, tourism, hospitality, recreation, fire services, continuing education and contract training. Through smaller class sizes, highly-personalized instruction and dedicated support services, our students are primed to succeed in the job market, or in the next stage of their academic journey.

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