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500 student housing units slated for Surrey downtown

This is part of expanded Western Community College campus, in partnership with Surrey’s Health and Technology District

More than 500 student and faculty residential housing units will be part of an expanded Western Community College campus for downtown, in partnership with Surrey’s Health and Technology District.

This is to be included in the City Centre 5 building near Surrey Memorial Hospital and King George SkyTrain station, next to the City Centre 4 building currently under construction. City Centre 5 is expected to be completed in 2028.

The news was revealed at a presser on Wednesday morning.

Gurpal Dhaliwal, president of Western Community College, said he’s proud to announce this “groundbreaking initiative in collaboration with ICT Group and Lark Group to address the pressing need for student housing.

“As the first private institution in Surrey to tackle this issue head-on,” he said, “we reaffirm our commitment to student success and well-being. By prioritizing access to safe and supportive housing, we ensure that all who come through our doors have the opportunity to pursue their dreams with confidence and peace of mind.”

Kirk Fisher, CEO of the Lark Group, said they are “blazing a trail in BC’s business and innovation landscape with the continuing expansion and accelerated momentum of Surrey’s Health and Technology District.

“The incredible demand for health, office, education space, and now student accommodations, as Surrey becomes B.C.’s largest City, has propelled us to accelerate the construction of our City Centre 5 building, with City Centre 6-9 already in the planning stages. Not only are we igniting Surrey’s innovation, health care and business landscapes, we’re creating access to local academic opportunities for future generations.”

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Western Community College already has a presence in City Centre 2 in collaboration with the Surrey Board of Trade and Surrey Technology and Skills Centre, which is described in a press release as a “premier centre for research, business, and innovation.” Its expanded campus is expected to feature “a growing network of researchers, entrepreneurs, educational institutions, and multinational and start-up companies that are collaborating with students and clinicians in a number of health care environments to accelerate the implementation of technologies and solutions to achieve health care improvements.”

The college’s Bachelors of Hospitality is currently based in the City Centre 3 building with plans to expand into City Centre 4 and City Centre 5, located between 137 Street and 137A Street, bordering 97A Avenue. It offers more than 60 undergraduate, postgraduate, and bachelor’s degree programs in health care, hospitality, accounting, IT, business management and aviation.

Meantime, UBC is among its neighbours, having bought into the City Centre 1 building to house its Midwifery and Master of Physical Therapy program for the South of Fraser region. In 2021, UBC announced an additional $70-million purchase of an adjacent property that is anticipated to combine residential and commercial spaces to accommodate dedicated academic facilities.

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Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, remarked that Surrey is attracting more private-sector investment given the “scope and depth” of its population.

“To see educational institutions like Western Community College choosing Surrey especially in this downtown core around the Health and Technology District is a testament to the leadership and innovation the Lark Group and ICT Group brings to Surrey,” she said.

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke noted the city’ population is expected to surpass one million by 2042.

“The investment being made today will pay dividends in bolstering health care in Surrey over the long term,” she said. “It makes a lot of sense to train health professionals within the city in the hopes they will stay and work in Surrey upon graduation. I would like to thank Western Community College, Lark Group and ICT Group for leading the charge in expanding Surrey’s burgeoning Health and Technology District.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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