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Combined post-secondary campus for West Shore delayed by a year

The campus was originally set to open this fall, but classes are now set to start in September 2025.
Construction of West Shore Campus, a joint project of UVic, Royal Roads University, Camosun College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia, is underway on the corner of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue in Langford. But labour shortages and material delays mean the campus will open a year later than planned. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

An effort to build a single campus for four post-secondary institutions in downtown Langford has been delayed for a year due to labour shortages and material delays.

The campus was to open this fall with course offerings from Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria, Camosun College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia, but classes are now set to start in September 2025.

Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA Ravi Parmar said the project ran into an issue when the building’s original mass-timber supplier closed, although another supplier was quickly found — the Nelson-based Kalesnikoff lumber company.

Royal Roads University, which is spearheading the project, said Monday the building’s concrete is poured and its mass-timber beams are in place.

Parmar said many West Shore residents he’s spoken to don’t realize that a university is being built at the corner of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue.

“There are a lot of young families that have moved into the West Shore, in particular Langford, who drive by and say: ‘Wow, what a beautiful, beautiful building. Wonder what’s going to be happening in there?’ ” Parmar said.

The new campus — which will also offer adult upgrading through School District 62 — is expected to help reduce barriers to higher learning on the West Shore, including lengthy commutes and a housing shortage in the core municipalities.

Parmar said the campus will be a boon to food businesses in the area.

“There are no cafeteria-type services built in this downtown campus … if you think business is busy, just imagine 2,000 people leaving that campus every lunch time and after school,” he said.

There are plans to build student housing on the site, he said.

The campus is expected to take in 600 students in its first year and expand to 1,300 full-time students by 2035.

UVic said it will open applications to its two-year gateway program for computing-related degrees at the West Shore campus starting this fall.

Camosun College is expected to offer health-care assistant and educational-assistant training, and the Justice Institute will offer paramedic and first-responder training.

Royal Roads will have courses in business and environmental science, with more undergraduate offerings to be added in later years. 

The West Shore has lower-than-average direct-to-post-­secondary transition rates — 38 per cent compared to the provincial average of 51 per cent — with residents identifying long commutes as one of the ­barriers, according to the province.

The project includes $77.8-million from the provincial government for ­construction of the building, and $18.5 million from Royal Roads University for the land purchase and an additional $500,000 for capital costs.

Capital spending includes $1 million from the University of Victoria and $200,000 from Camosun College.

The City of Langford agreed in 2022 to provide $27.5 million for parking, roads and greenspace at the campus and $1.5 million in funding over 10 years for development and support of an Innovation Studio to help incubate new businesses.

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