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Coast Mountain College adds student housing, updated library

Coast Mountain College adds student housing, updated library

October 14, 2021 at 12:28 pm  BC, News, Politics

Students at the Coast Mountain College (CMTN) Terrace campus have access to more housing and improved facilities with the opening of 108 student beds and a renovated library.

The design of both spaces was informed by CMTN’s First Nations Council, students and staff to create a culturally safe environment that incorporates Indigenous art and cultural space.

“The care and attention to detail in these projects will inspire students to learn more about the world around them, all while creating a safe place to call home as they adjust to life on campus,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This increased student housing will also reduce the demand for rental housing in the community, helping to alleviate the housing market pressures throughout Terrace.”

The new student housing building, called Wii Gyemsiga Siwilaawksat, replaces housing that was more than 40 years old. The building’s name translates to “where learners are content or comfortable.” This is reflected in the choice to include two suites for visiting families of students, an Elder suite, two shared kitchens, two collaboration areas, a computer lab, an e-sports room and bike storage.

A central area features a variety of Indigenous fine art created by alumni and instructors from CMTN’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. The building features two three-storey wings with 108 beds (104 student beds, up from 71 in the previous spaces).

“We know that safe, comfortable and inspiring places to live and study give students a boost when it comes to concentrating on their schoolwork,” said Laurie Waye, interim president, CMTN. “We are so excited to be opening the doors of these exceptional facilities to students this fall.”

The renovated Spruce Building Library, called Waap Sa’mn, is also open. The space includes an Indigenous reading circle area that houses Indigenous collections, as well as learning and administrative spaces. The renovation was needed following a 2018 flood in the basement of the building. Phase 2 of the building renovation is expected to be complete in fall 2022.

“I remember how important a home away from home is when a student is going to school outside of their community. The new housing facility will help students feel culturally safe,” says Nicole Halbauer, X’staam Hana’ax, CMTN board chair. “The renovated library gives students a comfortable, welcoming and modern new space to study in.”

The Gitxsan, Haisla, Haida, Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Wet’suwet’en and Métis Nation are in CMTN’s service area. Design elements of the student housing building and library were incorporated to honour the First Nations and the Métis Nation the college serves across its seven regional campuses.

Quotes:

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“The new student housing, Wii Gyemsiga Siwilaawksat, is a powerful example of collaboration. From the planning phase through to the realization of this project, there has been a focus on diverse student needs, incorporating elements of local First Nations’ art and culture that resonates deeply. I am grateful for the vision CMTN brought to this project and excited for the community to make use of it for years to come.”

Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine –

“Students who choose to study in smaller communities deserve the best facilities we can provide them, and this $21.6-million addition to CMTN’s Terrace campus is a fantastic example of what is possible when we work together. These are more than buildings. They’re launching points for people’s careers, and the start of a rewarding careers that keeps people living, learning and working in the North.”

Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast –

“Resiliency is the key to success, and having a welcoming and inclusive place to call home while broadening one’s perspectives through study makes an important difference in the lives of our young adults. The reach and impact of CMTN is felt throughout Northern British Columbia, and the new student housing and renovated library are a fantastic example of how thoughtfully designed buildings can positively influence the lived experience of so many people.”

Charlotte Guno, CMTN First Nations Council –

“It is so important that our students have safe, clean, affordable student housing so that they can succeed in their studies. A home away from home is vital for student success, and this new beautiful building provides comfortable spaces to live, engage with others and study.”

Kobe Antoine, CMTN First Nations Fine Arts student –

“Being in a nice student building is important because it improves your quality of life and your overall studies. I feel like it makes me want to put in more effort into my work because I finally have the right workspace to think clearly. It makes me feel acknowledged as a student and I just really want to keep learning here.”

Stan Bevan, instructor, First Nations Fine Art, CMTN’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art –

“We are proud to bring contemporary First Nations art to the new housing facility and the library. The art was created by many of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art alumni and highlights the program, the college and the maturity of the many artists involved. This will be one of the largest collections of contemporary First Nations Art in northern B.C.”

Quick Facts:

  • The $21.6-million new student housing facility received $20.6 million from the provincial government, with the remaining cost funded by CMTN.
  • The $4.4-million library renovation is Phase 1 of 2. The total cost is $13.4 million and is fully funded by the Province.
  • CMTN, formerly Northwest Community College, was established in 1975 in Terrace.
  • The phonetic pronunciation of Wii Gyemsiga Siwilaawksat is “Wee gii’yemk-sea-ga Sue-will-la-owk-set.”

Learn More:

For more about CMTN, visit: https://www.coastmountaincollege.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

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