More students at the University of the Fraser Valley’s (UFV) Abbotsford campus will be able to live on campus with the construction of new student housing that will triple the number of beds available and expand dining facilities.
“We know that finding housing near UFV͛’s Abbotsford campus can be a challenge. That is why our government is working hard to deliver more than 8,000 new on-campus student beds throughout B.C. by 2028,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “The project at UFV is part of the Homes for B.C. plan, and it will help so many students focus on their studies. With the new space at UFV, we now have more than 6,800 new student housing beds open or underway.”
The Province is providing $70.3 million toward the $82.3-million project. The new housing will increase on-campus accommodations for students from 200 to 598 beds. The six-storey mass timber building will include 398 new student beds as well as common areas.
The new residence will be located at the north end of parking lot 10 near G Building (the Peter Jones Learning Centre, which houses the library).
“This beautiful and modern new building will transform UFV’s Abbotsford campus, and this means nearly 600 students will call our campus home during their studies. Their energy will revitalize our spaces and their presence will provide a lively key element in Abbotsford’s growing U-District,” said Joanne MacLean, UFV president. “UFV is grateful to government for its support of this important and community-focused project that fills a critical housing need in our region.”
The Cascade Café, an existing food service on campus, will also be expanded to add another storey and increased floor space. These changes will double the size of the dining hall and increase seating capacity from 121 to 350 seats. The completed space will offer greater food options and expanded operating hours.
Dining hall construction is anticipated to begin in early 2023, with completion in early 2024. Student housing construction is expected to also begin in early 2023, with the first students to move in by fall 2024.These new spaces are in addition to recently completed renovations to buildings A-East and D on the Abbotsford campus to maximize the learning space, upgrade technology and improve the building exteriors. The new facilities provide open and flexible learning spaces, student consultation areas, new office and classroom furniture, and the renovated Spirit Bear Café area.
“I’m very excited to see the Province and UFV adding housing on the Abbotsford campus,” said recent UFV graduate Mauli Bajaj. “This is a big step toward alleviating pressure on students seeking accommodation in a difficult rental market. Now, students will be able to live where they study with predictable costs in a great new building. Plus, this means the campus will gain energy and life from having more students calling campus home. From a student͛ perspective, this is a game changer.”
Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, is also excited about the new residence building.
“The University of the Fraser Valley provides exceptional educational opportunities for people throughout the region, and the new student housing and renovated spaces will ensure they can get the most out of their time on campus. UFV is setting a wonderful example for its students by providing modern, energy-efficient spaces designed for the needs of the future.”
Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack, says the new housing will help the Fraser Valley as a whole.
“The University of the Fraser Valley plays an important role in our community, from agriculture to aerospace. The many programs offered at the Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Hope campuses benefit the workforce of the Fraser Valley immensely. Knowing that students will have more on-campus housing and amenities to support their studies is good news for us all.͟”
Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training, and MLA for Langley, says the project will also help boost local employment and the economy.
“When we build on-campus facilities, the benefit extends beyond the student experience. For the hundreds of trades people who bring these buildings from concept to completion, these projects create good jobs close to home.”