Tuesday, May 8, 2018

NWCC expands housing options to Smithers, with hopes for North Coast plans in the future

The expansion of education programs in Smithers has attracted a number
of students from India and other nations, leading to NWCC to develop
student housing in the Bulkley Valley community

(photo from NWCC Communications)

With Northwest Community College expanding a business program that has attracted a growing number of International students to the Bulkley Valley campus in Smithers, the college on Monday announced plans to create housing accommodation for the Northwest Interior town.

With NWCC offering two programs, The Business Administration and Post Degree Business program in the Smithers region, they have attracted a number of students from outside of the region, many of them from India, with the recent intake for the program starting their orientation this week.

At the moment Smithers is facing an extremely low vacancy rate leading the college to seek out and receive funding to $350,000 from the Province to develop the temporary modular student housing units, accommodations which are already fully subscribed.

The NWCC housing initiative is designed to try reduce those housing pressures in the Bulkley Valley region and to provide for elements that will help to attract students to the programs that are offered.

“The vacancy rate in Smithers is extremely low and we know it is a challenge for students who are not from Smithers to find accommodation,” ... “In order to build capacity for new program offerings in Smithers it is important that we have student housing available for students from outside of Smithers who wish to register.” -- NWCC President and CEO Ken Burt

Smithers Town Council recently approved the project located on the city's Mountainview Drive.

May 7 -- Students from India enroll  at Northwest Community College
April 30 -- NWCC student housing delayed
April 15 -- Smithers college housing approved

The new student housing for the Bulkley Valley is the latest addition to the NWCC housing stock, with the main campus in Terrace having expanded on its options in recent years as they continue to expand their trade offerings.

With NWCC adding to its housing stock in Smithers and Terrace, plans
are being considered for similar housing options in Prince Rupert.

To find out where Prince Rupert may be in the long term planning for student housing with NWCC (Soon to be Coast Mountain College) the North Coast Review contacted Communications Manager, Sarah Zimmerman, who offered up the state of the college's plans for the North Coast to this point.

"We know there is a need for student housing in Prince Rupert and we are currently exploring options for the community there. Student housing in Prince Rupert is part of Northwest Community College's five-year capital plan and we continue to work to try to move it forward there."

The quest for student housing for Prince Rupert was an initiative that former Mayor Jack Mussallem first introduced back in 2014, though of late it is has not been much of a discussion topic in public session for the current council membership.

Council did have an opportunity to raise the issue in October of last year when NWCC provided an update on their efforts to change the name to Coast Mountain College.

At that time Council explored a range of themes with the college, many of them related to the focus on foreign student admissions, however the topic of a need for student housing in Prince Rupert didn't make it to the list of questions offered up by Council members.

With affordable housing an ongoing issue in Prince Rupert and the college finding an increasing presence of International students also making their way to city's 5th Street Campus location, many in this community will no doubt be hoping that the timeline of student housing development for the North Coast will be on the early side of that five year capital plan.

For more items related to Northwest Community college see our archive page here.

A look at the ongoing concerns related to Housing in Prince Rupert can be found on our archive page here.

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