Why UBC Okanagan matters (a lot) to Kelowna city council

Image Credit: UBC Okanagan

UBCO DELEGATION WILL REPORT ON PAST GROWTH AND FUTURE PLANS

KELOWNA - When UBC Okanagan comes calling, you can bet Kelowna city councillors will sit up and take notice.

Professor Deborah Buszard, principal of the Okanagan campus, will update councillors on the school’s future during a briefing Monday morning.

It’s been a decade since the provincial government rebranded the north campus of Okanagan College as a franchise of the University of British Columbia.

Since then, a thriving technolgy and research hub has sprung up around the 103-hectare main campus where once none existed.

At the same time, increasing number of students — the headcount was 8,300 last year — have  provided a welcome boost to the local economy and served as a buffer to the grey wave engulfing Kelowna.

Councillors will hear the university has doubled enrollment since 2005 and tripled its floor space with $400 million worth of capital projects.

Over that time, some 11,000 students from a variety of countries have graduated from UBC Okanagan which today offers eight faculties and schools, 53 bachelor degrees and 14 masters and PhD programs.

Researchers at the school are today involved in 633 projects backed by $18.5 million in funding. The $8-million STAR research facility has helped attract local companies to Kelowna, boosting employment and helping diversify the economy.

Future expansion plans at the university include doubling the current 86,500 square metres of floorspace for academic programs while adding another 16,000 square metres of residential housing, room for an additional 525 student beds.

Development priorities for the campus include western access from John Hindle Drive, a transit exchange and conversion of the campus core to become pedestrian oriented.

Councillors will hear from the UBC Okanagan delegation at the public council meeting, 9 a.m., Jan. 25, at Kelowna City Hall.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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