Hundreds of new student housing units are on the way for Abbotsford’s University of the Fraser Valley.
The school will be almost tripling the number of beds available from 200 to about 600, thanks to a $70.3 million funding boost from the province.
They celebrated the announcement on Friday at an event just steps from where the new housing will be built.
“This fantastic 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,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.”We know that finding housing near UFV’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.”
But UFV will see their new dorms quicker than that. The expected move-in date will be fall 2024.
Anne Kang announces $70.3 M for new student housing at @goUFV in #abbotsford that will almost triple available units and expand dining room pic.twitter.com/FbVkE4SJ6A
— Jessica (Now In Abbotsford) Peters (@CHWKcommunity) May 13, 2022
The province is providing $70.3 million toward the $82.3-million project. The six-storey mass timber building will include 398 new student beds as well as common areas, and will be built where parking lot 10 is, near the La:lem te Baker dorm and the UFV Bookstore.
“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 UDistrict,” 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.”
She also noted this is the largest funding announcement in UFV’s history.
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.
Mauli Bajaj, a UFV graduate who now works with autistic children in Abbotsford, spoke enthusiastically about dorm life at UFV, where she lived for four years.
“I’m very excited to see the province and UFV adding housing on the Abbotsford campus,” she said. “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 student’s perspective, this is a game changer.”
The event was filled with dignitaries and elected officials, including Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, and Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission.
Alexis spoke about the genesis of UFV decades ago, and expressed her thankfulness to see the school growing.
“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,” she said. “UFV is setting a wonderful example for its students by providing modern, energy-efficient spaces designed for the needs of the future.”
The housing expansion was originally planned pre-pandemic, but was shelved temporarily due to the changes in education delivery and needs of students.
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