British Columbia

New student housing coming to Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C.

Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C., is building a multi-million dollar student residence that it says will create new space for school activities and offer affordable housing to future students.

Construction will start next year on a 20-storey, multi-purpose building

Architectural drawings show the new student housing and academic facilities that will be built on Douglas College's New Westminster campus. (Stantec Architecture Ltd.)

Douglas College announced plans to build a 20-storey student residence and academic facility on its campus in New Westminster, B.C., on Tuesday, with construction at 808 Royal Ave. set to start in the summer of 2023.

The new building will have a mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom student apartments, with a total of 368 beds, and will also include study and work areas, classrooms, labs, offices, food services and parking.

"Students at Douglas College ... need access to affordable housing so they don't have the barrier of long commutes and expensive rent," said Anne Kang, minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, in a news release.

The sleek, modern looking building will cost $292.5 million, with $202.3 million coming from the province and the rest from Douglas College.

Jennifer Whiteside, MLA for New Westminster, said students also need "a place to call home that is affordable and allows them time and space to study."

By investing in student housing and academic space, the school and the province say they hope to make post-secondary education more accessible and reduce pressure on the rental housing in the area.

Douglas College president Kathy Denton says the "unique" new space will be welcoming and accessible, and she hopes it will inspire future students.

"[It's] the culmination of years of consultation and collaboration," she said.

Stone, wood and other natural products will be used to construct the building, under the province's Clean B.C. plan.

Douglas College says building new academic facilities will free up space on other parts of campus, which could mean an expansion of the school's child care facility.

Room to grow

The college says it serves over 25,000 Canadian and international students every year.

"Housing on campus is more than just a place to sleep and study," said Douglas College student Krystyn Llagas. 

"808 Royal will help the future students at Douglas College feel even more connected and supported while they balance their hectic studies, work and life."

School officials say on top of building a new college district, they're planning to consolidate the commerce and business faculty with the humanities and social sciences department, to address a critical lack of space in certain parts of the New Westminster campus.

Construction of the new building is expected to be completed in the summer of 2026.