Dogwood Auditorium blossoms at Royal Roads University

October 8, 2021 at 10:43 am  BC, News, Politics

People on the Westshore have a new multi-purpose auditorium and academic space to meet growing demands for learning and event space at Royal Roads University (RRU).

“This building is a fantastic example of our government working with post-secondary institutions to invest in infrastructure that supports students and communities,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Renovating this historic space for a modern purpose creates a place for students to learn and for RRU to engage with the community, lean into partnerships and welcome everyone to their beautiful campus.”

The creative renovation transformed a former swimming pool into the Dogwood Auditorium with space for 500 seats. The Dogwood is the largest conference space on the Westshore and is available for public event bookings, starting in January 2022.

The multi-purpose academic and presentation space was a swimming pool that was used by the former Royal Roads Military College. The pool, built in 1959, was decommissioned in the early 2000s. Prior to the renovation, the building was used for the university’s squash courts and locker rooms.

The front entrance features a new art piece titled All My Relations designed by Kwakwak’awakw artist Carey Newman, inspired by conversations with Asma-na-hi Antoine, RRU’s director of Indigenous engagement. The heritage facade of the building was preserved where possible in the design of the new auditorium.

Environmental sustainability and innovation are key aspects of the Dogwood Auditorium. The transformed building has an environmentally innovative geo-exchange energy system, which will help the university meet its targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Design features will increase the energy efficiency of the building, reducing its reliance on traditional heating sources.

In addition to the auditorium, which has retractable seating and a partition that can split the room in two, the building also features a smaller multi-purpose room, media services room and a meeting room.


Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin –

“I’m delighted that the partnership between our government and RRU is bringing us the first conference centre of this capacity in Westshore. I am excited that we are getting a place to gather, learn and build our community.”

Philip Steenkamp, president and vice-chancellor, Royal Roads University –

“This modernized building will be a gathering place for students to learn, a place to engage with the wider community and a warm welcome to our campus. Already situated in a beautiful spot on campus, this is now a space that aligns with our strategic goals and is in harmony with the natural environment. I look forward to seeing many happy gatherings here in the future.”

Quick Facts:

  • Totalling $15.2 million, the Province provided $14.6 million, and the university provided $600,000.
  • Royal Roads Military College operated from 1940 to 1995.
  • Royal Roads University became a public, degree-granting university in 1995.
  • The military college and the surrounding Hatley Park were declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1995.

Learn More:

Watch a video about the project here:

A backgrounder follows.

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