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Student family housing coming to Nicola Valley Institute of Technology

June 21, 2024 at 9:31 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) students with young families will soon have more access to on-campus housing.

 “People often put their education on hold to raise their family, delaying them from getting the skills they need to access good jobs and build a better future,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “By creating dedicated student family housing at NVIT’s Merritt Campus, students can commit to their studies without the worry of where to call home during the school year while also remaining close to their loved ones.”

NVIT’s student housing project will include two six-unit townhouses for families, with a mix of two- and three-bedroom units to accommodate as many as 30 students and family members. This will bring the total number of student beds on the NVIT Merritt campus to 110, with 80 student spaces for single students already on campus.

The project will provide housing primarily to Indigenous students and families living together in a supportive academic community while earning their certifications. As B.C.’s Indigenous-led institution, the project is designed with Indigenous connections and culture in mind, including gardens for native and medicinal plants. The child care facility will be operated by the Conayt Friendship Centre.

“This investment demonstrates our shared commitment to providing our students with a supportive and enriching learning environment,” said Ken Tourand, president, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. “As B.C.’s only Indigenous public post-secondary institution, the addition of this housing will enhance the overall student experience and further contribute to the success and well-being of our NVIT community, making education as accessible as possible for those learners coming from rural as well as remote Indigenous communities.”

The project received $19.6 million in provincial government funding. This project also includes a 36-space child care and health program expansion, and the addition of a mobile training trailer compound. The buildings will be constructed using wood-frame with mass-timber elements while meeting Step 4 of the B.C. Energy Step Code. The project is expected to be complete and ready for students to move in for fall 2026.

“These new units, with up-to-date accessibility standards, will allow NVIT to better accommodate students and their families from all walks of life,” said Akayla Burley, on behalf of the NVIT Student Society. “It is my hope that these new units will offer future NVIT students access to affordable housing, the opportunity to participate fully in campus life and encourage them to use all of the supports available to those braving the waters of post-secondary education.”

Expanding access to student housing is part the Homes for People action plan, which commits more than $2 billion toward developing 12,000 student beds on campuses throughout the province. To date, 8,129 student beds are complete or underway. This investment in student housing will help students access post-secondary education and will further ease pressure on the local rental markets.

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