They have announced in a press conference Wednesday that a new secondary campus will be built in downtown Kelowna.
“Since our creation in 2005, we have grown from 3,000 students to over 11,000 and we expect our community to continue its development,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC-Okanagan’s deputy vice-chancellor.
“With this kind of expanded presence over the coming years, it only makes sense that we would create community-facing academic space in the heart of Kelowna, in close proximity to many of our community partners working in health, tech, business, and arts and culture.”
Buszard says UBCO will reach a population of over 20,000 students by 2040.
The new campus will be built at 550 Doyle Ave. and university officials say rezoning and architectural planning is set to begin in the coming months.
The city says the new campus will help stimulate the economy in Kelowna.
“UBC and the city have worked together on many projects over the years and this was a golden opportunity for us to proactively advocate for the university’s presence downtown,” said Colin Basran, Kelowna’s mayor.
“This will undoubtedly create a wealth of economic and societal benefits and contribute enormously to the cultural fabric of our downtown.”
Officials say the plans for the new building have yet to be finalized but they’re expecting 80,000 to 100,000 square feet of academic space.
Early concepts include potential office and residential space, according to the university.
The project is also welcomed by the provincial government.
“A mixed-use hub of campus life will be a game-changer for downtown Kelowna and will provide an exciting pathway for regional access to the world-class programming that UBC delivers,” said Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training.
“This new state-of-the-art facility will ensure that front-line professionals of the future will thrive, succeed and be able to give back to their communities throughout the Okanagan region and beyond.”
The site was purchased by the city for $7.4 million and the city says the funds will be taken from the city’s Landfill Reserve Fund and the Land Acquisition Loan General Reserve.