Large renovations to the UFV Mission campus will create “The Centre of Excellence for Children, Youth, and Families,” as well as relocate UFV’s teaching programs from Abbotsford, according to a joint announcement from the city and university.
Space at the Abbotsford campus is severely constrained with capacity at 139 per cent, while only 26 per cent of the Mission campus is currently being utilized, according to James Mandigo, UFV provost and vice-president academic.
“We want to make sure that the type of experience that our students are getting … is state of the art,” Mandigo said.
“This is a place where we can really specialize in innovative forms of pedagogy and integrative forms of learning within the community.”
The renovations will not add any additional structures to the building and will stay within the current footprint, Mandigo said. He added some areas may undergo a complete redesign, pending further consultations.
The final budget of the project has not been decided yet, and Mandigo was not at liberty to give estimates.
The centre will host an array of academic programming, research, scholarly work and outreach programs related to the subject of its namesake.
Located on traditional Stó:lō territory and adjacent to the former St. Mary’s Indian Residential School, the redesigned campus space will consult local Indigenous leaders to guide educational opportunities related to Truth and Reconciliation.
“We hope to support our community with new and highly relevant education and training opportunities – programs that build on Truth and Reconciliation, research, and the strong reputation of UFV’s faculty,” said UFV President Joanne MacLean, adding it will be an important resource for the region’s students for generations.
Several research and community based activities are planned for the space, including an expansion of Counselling, Advocacy, Learning & Leading (CALL) services to Mission. Currently, there is a nine-month wait for these family counselling services.
Work-integrated learning activities will also be offered with Fraser Valley Child Development and the Mission Association of Community Living; as well as research activities with UFV’s Centre for Philosophy for Children and the Centre for Education and Research on Aging.
“Mission is excited to see that UFV is investing in our long-standing partnership. These improvements will mean a more complete and innovative array of education and support resources for our citizens,” said Mission Mayor Paul Horn.
“There will also be more opportunities for UFV, the City of Mission, local First Nations, Mission schools, and community organizations to work together on important work related to Truth and Reconciliation as well as children, youth, and families.”
UFV’s bachelors and masters of education programs, currently located in Abbotsford, will be relocated into the renovated facility. There are currently 64 bachelor and 25 master’s students in UFV’s Teacher Education Department.
Mandigo said it’s an added bonus that the Mission campus is attached to Heritage Park Middle School as it provides future teachers a glimpse into the workplace.
Additional programming in the areas of early childhood education, community support work, upgrading, dual credit and continuing education will also be offered.
The anticipated start of these programs is the fall term of 2023.
The graphic and digital design diploma program, currently located in Mission, will be relocated to Abbotsford campus and combined with the degree program, Mandigo said.
He said that although the program is moving, some programs and initiatives led by the department here will continue.
“Mission has been a fantastic supporter of the GDD program,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that GDD is not going to be still a part of Mission.”