THERE IS BUZZ ON THE STREETS OF DOWNTOWN KELOWNA— a new neighbor moves in. After living on the outskirts of town for more than 16 years, UBC Okanagan plans to open its doors in a new location immersed in the heart of the city.
“We come to the center of the community that created us,” says Dr. Lesley Cormack, Principal and Deputy Vice Chancellor of UBCO.
With nine faculties and schools, nearly 12,000 students and 700 faculty members, UBC Okanagan has established itself as an innovative hub of research and learning dedicated to serving its community. Given the rapid growth of the campus since 2005, which has now exceeded planned enrollment goals, now is the time to expand.
“With UBC Okanagan’s ongoing commitment to community-based research, it makes sense to open a collaborative, multi-purpose space in the heart of downtown Kelowna,” says Dr. Phil Barker, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “The goal is to create opportunities for knowledge exchange, social innovation and creative expression and this new facility will help us explore that in exciting new ways.”
For UBC Okanagan students and faculty, having a downtown presence means those engaged in community-based academic work will be located close to partners, facilitating collaborations.
To accommodate these interactions, the university will occupy 100,000 square feet in a new building at the corner of St. Paul Street and Doyle Avenue. In addition to teaching and research, the building will provide rented office space and university rental housing, as well as a range of amenities.
UBCO’s School of Nursing will have a downtown presence, as will the School of Social Work. The site will house an art gallery, hosted by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Creation Studies, which will support creative innovation and community engagement programming.
Additionally, the Social and Economic Change Lab will house a public engagement suite, which will facilitate community discussions on the shaping and impact of regional socio-economic development.
“Having our nurses learn alongside social work and our health and social service partners will make health care delivery truly integrative,” said Dr. Marie Tarrant, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health. and social development.