New residences at Okanagan College will bring relief for students facing housing crunch | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New residences at Okanagan College will bring relief for students facing housing crunch

Mass timber housing will be constructed at Okanagan College campuses in Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kelowna starting in the fall of 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Province of B.C.
March 05, 2021 - 8:00 PM

The province has gas announced new affordable student housing for Okanagan College campuses, something a student union representative says are needed.

The province announced today, March 5, new environmentally-friendly mass timber housing will be constructed at Okanagan College campuses in Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm, starting in the fall of 2021.

“It’s about damn time,” said Ashley Robinson, with the Okanagan College Student Union.

“It has always been an issue… when you look at the fact that Kelowna is such a growing population that continues to attract people… the average rental unit in Kelowna is around $1,200 or $1,400 (a month). As a student, we’re already on a tight budget as it is.”

The project will include the construction of 376 additional affordable student homes in five new student housing buildings, including a combination of single, double and quad suites — resulting in a 260% increase in the total number of student beds available, according to provincial government media release. Currently, Okanagan College has no student housing in Vernon or Salmon Arm, and 144 student beds housed in a single building on the college’s Kelowna campus.

The student housing will also be available for roughly 30% cheaper than market rates on average in the three communities, according to an email from the the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2021. In Kelowna, two buildings with 216 beds will be constructed, in Vernon, one building will be available providing 100 beds and 60 beds will be available in two new buildings in Salmon Arm.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2023.


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