A lack of affordable housing may be keeping international and non-local students at bay from attending Okanagan schools.
To combat that shortage, Okanagan College is in the early stages of a 100-bed residence project for the Vernon campus as well as additional student housing for Salmon Arm and Kelowna campuses.
Jane Lister, regional dean for the North Okanagan, said the College is preparing a business case for submission to the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. A final draft of that case will be sent at the end of October.
“Our reasoning is students are indicating that they’re having trouble finding accommodation. We’re hearing that from a lot of community members,” Lister said. “International students have indicated that a lack of housing is a reason not to come to Vernon.”
The project, which is still in its formative stages, anticipates a mix of multi-bedroom pods as well as micro-suites in the 100-bed residence.
Currently, Lister said, there isn’t a set timeline for completion or estimated cost available. The College is in the process of discussing the project with the community to see if it would be beneficial.
Lister said the proposed location for the Vernon student residence is on the south side of the campus.
The application to the Ministry also includes similar projects in Salmon Arm and Kelowna, which is currently the only Okanagan College campus with student residency.
“We’re just at the very beginning stages,” Lister said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”