New Okanagan College student housing centre on target to open in 2024 in Salmon Arm

By College Relations | April 21, 2023

Salmon Arm Student Housing Announcement
Community members and dignitaries celebrating a new student housing project at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus

Finding affordable housing isn’t just a challenge in the big city – it can be difficult in smaller, more rural communities as well. For students like Dylan Taylor, who are also focused on completing post-secondary education and entering the workforce, access to housing is transformational.   

“There are many pressures on students already right now, so having a way to access a place to live on-campus takes away a huge amount of stress and makes it possible to focus on my education,” says Taylor, an Arts student at the Salmon Arm campus.  

The Province is currently funding three student housing projects in progress at Okanagan College, including a 60-bed mass-timber facility at the Salmon Arm campus, where construction crews will break ground this spring. Already under construction are a 216-bed facility in Kelowna and a 100-bed project in Vernon.  

View construction progress on Okanagan College student housing construction projects here: /housing   (Our Salmon Arm construction cam will be added when it is set up.)

“Building secure, stable and affordable housing supports students to be successful at their studies,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.  “Our government is rapidly building new student housing units across B.C. which will help students focus on their classes and lay the foundation for their future. With the Homes for People housing action plan, we’re committed to building 12,000 student beds across B.C.”

The total cost of all three student housing projects is $67.5 million, with the Province investing $66.5 million and Okanagan College funding the remaining $1 million.  

“Having an affordable place to live and the supports that come through student housing is game-changing for learners,” said Dr. Neil Fassina, Okanagan College president. “This new building will make attending post-secondary programs more possible for more students in Salmon Arm and surrounding communities, whether they are studying and training for careers in health care, trades, science and technology, or business.”  

“We are absolutely thrilled to see construction about to begin on this important project,” said Joan Ragsdale, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean in Salmon Arm. “Our community and regional advisory committee have had student housing as a priority for a number of years. We have had overwhelming support for this project from the entire community and I would like to thank all of our partners for their support."

The Salmon Arm student housing project is scheduled to be open to students for the Fall 2024 semester.   

“This is an exciting time for Okanagan College students with construction underway now on new housing at the Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses. Post-secondary students need access to affordable housing to pursue their studies and lay the foundation for their future, helping to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow, as they are the future of our province. I am so excited to see the first ever student housing units being built in Vernon and Salmon Arm and was happy to join the was happy to join the beginning of construction on the new student housing beds in Kelowna last year! These new buildings will also be reducing some of the pressure on the local rental market,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. 

Quick Facts:
•    The project cost for the student housing in Salmon Arm is $13 million.
•    The Salmon Arm student housing project will be constructed using mass timber and is designed to meet Step 4 of the B.C Energy Code.
•    Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm have low rental housing vacancy rates (CMHC, 2021: 0.6%, 0.8% and 0.6% respectively).


Tags: Salmon Arm, OC Foundation



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