UBC Okanagan is moving forward with plans for a new location in downtown Kelowna, designed by Vancouver-based HCMA Architecture + Design.
The new location at Doyle and St. Paul Street will include an angular 45-storey tower with metallic, amber-coloured panels by Olson Kundig of Seattle, inspired by the shimmer of the sun off nearby Okanagan Lake.
UBC Okanagan will occupy 100,000 square feet of the new tower, with the remainder consisting of leased office space and university rental housing. In total, there will be 503 residential units, consisting of 335 studio units, 68 one-bedroom units, and 100 two-bedroom units, on floors 12 through 45.
The new building will be home to the UBC Okanagan School of Nursing, as well as the School of Social Work. There will also be an art gallery and “public engagement suite”, with the intention of facilitating discussions around regional socio-economic development.
“The downtown site will be an incredible opportunity for students to become engaged with the local community,” says Dale Mullings, associate vice-president, students. “This will be a robust experience for them.”
Students will have access to an Integrated Service Desk, with access to supports including wellness services such as mental and physical health counselling, along with academic and career advice.
UBC Okanagan was established in 2005, and has grown quickly, with nine faculties and schools, close to 12,000 students and 700 faculty members. By 2040, UBC Okanagan is expected to grow to between 13,000-18,000 community members.
“We’re coming to the centre of the community that created us,” says Dr. Lesley Cormack, UBC Okanagan principal and deputy vice-chancellor of the new downtown site.
The downtown Kelowna building will have a total of 262 underground parking stalls and 603 bicycle parking spaces.
Video: Conceptual fly-through of future downtown Kelowna site
UBC Properties Trust expects construction to start in fall 2022.
An earlier concept for the downtown Kelowna campus surfaced in August 2021 by UNStudio and DIALOG. UBC is also planning a Surrey campus at the corner of King George Boulevard and Fraser Highway, with the recent purchase of a 135,000 square feet site for $70 million.
Editor’s note: The author of this article, Peter Meiszner, is an employee of the University of British Columbia.