A new collaborative post-secondary campus is coming to Langford.
Premier John Horgan was in Langford to make the announcement that the lot at 798 Goldstream Ave. would become home to a joint campus for Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria, Camosun College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia – which Horgan called “an unprecedented collaboration.”
It will also include space for programming for the Sooke School District.
Horgan said the project, set to be completed in 2024 with a capacity of 1,200 students, would help address long-term barriers for students on the West Shore, which has seen lower post-secondary attendance rates.
“We have very high (high school) graduation rates, among the highest Indigenous graduation rates in the province. But it starts to fall off when young people start to think about a three-hour commute, there and back, to the University of Victoria. Fortunately, there are multiple Camosun campuses – but still, it’s a challenge to get from here to where you need to get the skills that you need,” Horgan said during the event.
Horgan added having a West Shore campus would improve traffic as well as address issues like the labour shortages impacting a number of industries.
Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation Chief Russ Chipps said he’s been working with SD62 for a long time and that collaboration has helped boost Indigenous graduation rates and he was happy youth from his nation could stay closer to home and still have post-secondary opportunities.
“When I was going to school it was very hard, it wasn’t easy. But I see now our students are looked after very well. The best place we could have is close to our heart, the best place we could look after our children is close to our heart and that’s here in Langford … The people in this community look after us and treat each other like human beings. It’s the poster child for reconciliation, it’s the poster child for inclusivity.”
The property at the corner of Goldstream Avenue and Peatt Road was occupied by the Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church but was bought by Royal Roads University in March.
It was rezoned as a community town centre in 2018, allowing for mixed-use development.
The project is being funded by the provincial government ($77.8 million for the construction of the building) and RRU ($18.5 million for the land purchase plus an additional $500,000 for capital costs). Additional capital contributions include $1 million from UVic and $200,000 from Camosun College. Langford is also contributing $26 million towards amenity improvements, $1.5 million over 10 years to support an innovation studio and $375,000 to go towards a scholarship fund for Langford residents.
“In my 30 years as mayor, this is the single most significant project in Langford history – $125 million investment in education, and I am proud to be part of it,” said Mayor Stew Young.