Construction of new student housing at Coast Mountain College in Terrace is about to start in July 2020. (File illustration)

Construction of new student housing at Coast Mountain College in Terrace is about to start in July 2020. (File illustration)

College housing construction to start

Project will replace outdated student accommodation

Construction fencing is going up this week, followed by removing trees as site preparations get underway on the $19.7 million project to replace outdated student housing at Coast Mountain College’s main Terrace campus.

Prince George-based IDL Projects Ltd. has the contract for the modular unit construction project, to provide 104 rooms and four guest suites emphasizing First Nations design principles and art.

That’s substantially more space than the 71 student rooms in four buildings constructed in the 1970s. Passersby will notice that one of the four buildings, the now-empty Kalum residence, will be demolished first. It’s located in the northwest corner of the college campus where the new housing will be situated.

The centrepiece of the project will be a wood-constructed atrium to meet requirements of the provincial BC Wood First legislation, noted project manager Bruce Denis.

“The architect (HCMA Architecture and Design) has designed eight paired glulam structural columns to support the round central atrium with additional glulam beams supporting the pinwheel-shaped roof and skylight,” he said.

Cedar will be used to construct guardrails of the three-floor atrium with more cedar on the exterior of the building and the modules will be wood-framed.

“We do have a plan for First Nations art, sourcing art from our Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, as well as each community we serve,” added college president Justin Kohlman.

The construction schedule calls for completion next August, in time for fall 2021 classes.

Student rooms were originally going to have been air-conditioned but, as cost measure, that’s been eliminated. However, common areas will be air-conditioned.

Kohlman said the project plan, in addition to demolishing the Kalum building, includes demolishing the remaining Nass, Copper and Skeena buildings.

With Kalum scheduled to go first, he said, portions that can be reclaimed will be donated to other institutions and that pieces that can be recycled will be recycled.

There’ll be a street entrance off of McConnell to allow pick up and drop off of people by bus or automobile.

This project follows closely another significant one at the campus — a substantial rebuild of the trades building, which was completed in 2018 at a cost of $18.4 million.

As well, the library and office space in the basement of the main administrative building is to undergo rehabilitation and renovations following a flood caused when a toilet overflowed.

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