A place to lay their heads

Knowing that comfortable, affordable and safe space is available opens up the Basin as an option when people are considering their futures.

2 minute read

Students and the region benefit as more student housing gets built

Some Selkirk College students will be able to add the fresh smell of paint and polished floors to the back-to-school aromas of fall leaves and crisp textbook pages.

New student housing is currently being installed at the college: 112 beds at its Castlegar Campus and 35 at its Nelson Silver King Campus. These modular units—added with support from the Trust—bump up the college’s student housing options by 71 per cent. They should be fully ready to greet residents in September 2024.

For about a year, construction crews have been buzzing on site, including some college alumni now working in their trades—altogether creating an estimated 111 direct jobs and 59 indirect positions. Where these units really make a difference, though, is with students. Golden’s Emma Russell lived in Castlegar student housing while she studied rural pre-medicine, and knows the new units will be greatly appreciated.

“As a young student attending post-secondary for the first time from a rural community, having specialized housing on-campus eased my nerves during a very stressful time,” she says. “Living on campus was essential for my ability to attend classes and labs, giving me the housing security I needed to focus on my studies. Adding more housing at Selkirk College will be beneficial for future students who will arrive to find others in the exact same situation, providing a community and support system unlike anything else.”

In addition, knowing that comfortable, affordable and safe space is available opens up the Basin as an option when people are considering their futures. In the long term, these students may become part of the workforce for local businesses. It also frees up rental housing in the greater community, as fewer students grab places to live elsewhere in town.

Well-being will be further strengthened by the fact that the buildings will be inclusive. The aim is to make all students feel welcome, through assets like accessible units, family units and a spiritual space that incorporates Indigenous philosophies. In addition, the buildings will be highly energy efficient, including aspects like solar panels.

It’s for these broad positive effects to individuals, communities, the economy and the environment that the Trust supports projects like these: ones that boost the region’s stock of affordable rental housing, plus ones that help make the region’s post-secondary institutions an attractive choice for residents.

Selkirk College’s new modular units may be stacked together like Lego—but it’s clear that their impacts will be anything but child’s play.

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