An artists rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)

An artists rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)

UBC announces downtown Kelowna campus

Construction not anticipated to begin for two years, due to zoning processes

A new UBC campus is coming to downtown Kelowna as part of a joint effort between the city and the university.

The new development is slated to be built at 550 Doyle Avenue, currently the location of the Daily Courier’s offices, and is tentatively planned to contain office and academic spaces, as well as university rental housing. Rezoning and planning for the site is expected to come in the following months.

Deputy vice-chancellor and principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus, Deborah Buszard, said the move is a natural progression for the institution.

“It only makes sense that we would create community-facing academic space in the heart of Kelowna, in close proximity to many of our community partners working in health, tech, business, and arts and culture,” she said.

The plans have not yet been finalized, but the building is expected to contain between 80,000 and 100,000 square feet of academic space on 1.6 acres of land.

The agreement also sees the city of Kelowna purchase 67 hectares of land currently owned by the university, between its current campus and the dump. Mayor Colin Basran said the acquisition will enhance the buffer zone surrounding the landfill, contributing to its long-term sustainability while allowing the university to expand into the downtown core.

“[UBC’s downtown expansion is] a goal we’ve been working towards since UBCO’s inception,” says Basran.

It is not yet known what types of programs will be offered at the new downtown location, nor how many students it will serve.

Construction is anticipated to begin in roughly two years due to the facility still having to be planned and make its way through several municipal processes.

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