British Columbia

BCIT announces plans to build first new student housing in 38 years

BCIT and the provincial government have announced the joint funding of a 12-storey, 464 bed student housing building on the school’s Burnaby, B.C., campus.

$115-million project will more than double the number of student housing beds on the Burnaby campus

The project will add 464 new beds to the 331 beds currently available on the Burnaby campus. (BCIT)

British Columbia Institute of Technology and the provincial government have announced the joint funding of a 12-storey, 464 bed student housing building on the school's Burnaby campus.

The province has committed $108.8 million for the project, while the university is adding $6 million to the first investment in new student housing at the school in 38 years.

The beds will more than double the school's current housing, with only 331 beds currently on campus. 

"For many people, the lack of on-campus student housing is a major barrier to opportunity. New beds at BCIT will take some of the pressure off students, while freeing up affordable rentals for people in their community," said MLA for Burnaby North Janet Routledge.

The province says the housing project, at right, will be designed to reflect Indigenous culture. (BCIT)

The future home of the building will be on a parking lot south of the SW3 building, near Willingdon Avenue. 

At 12 storeys the new tower will dwarf the next tallest building on campus, which only measures four storeys.

Low-carbon mass timber

The government is also trumpeting the plan for its use of mass timber in the construction process. The engineered wood product, which is created by bonding layers of wood together, is said to have a lower carbon footprint compared to concrete. 

"Mass timber is key to diversifying and creating a more resilient forest sector," said Ravi Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for B.C.'s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. 

"It's great to see the ripple effects from the expanded use of sustainably harvested, low-carbon wood products in B.C. buildings. It helps combat climate change and brings people back to work in forestry-related jobs."

Construction is expected to begin in early 2022, with a target to welcome students in August 2024. 

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