With the goal of opening in 2025, members of the North Island College community, K’ómoks First Nation and the Comox Valley community gathered at the Comox Valley campus to bless the site of two new student housing buildings at NIC.
On Friday (Jan. 6), members from K’ómoks spoke about the importance of blessing the site to ensure the project enters the preparation and construction phase respectfully. KFN members have been involved in the selection committee overseeing the procurement process leading to a new design and design-build team.
The housing project will see 217 beds for students, including 157 beds in a larger building and 60 beds for students with families in a separate building. The buildings will sit adjacent to the Comox Valley Aquatic Centre, close to childcare, restaurants, businesses and other amenities.
The project is funded largely by the provincial government, as part of the provincial Homes for BC initiative, a 10-year housing plan that aims to see 8,000 new student beds built on campuses by 2028.
Mary Rickinson, a first-year nursing student at NIC and services director for the North Island Students’ Union said the facility is important and much needed.
“It’s been incredible to see the community, the engagement, collaboration and forward-motion of this project with students at the forefront and Indigenous practices and responsibility and best practices for the environment. It’s creating a facility that’s desperately needed on this campus and in this town.”
NIC president Lisa Domae said the project will allow students across the north Island to have a home and a learning living community where they can study.
“We all know how difficult it is to find housing,” she added.
Domae noted the blessing officially kicked off the groundbreaking portion of the project, with active work beginning on the site in the spring.
The project budget is set at $77.2 million.