Ontario Construction News staff writer
Brock University senior staff and student leaders held a ground-breaking ceremony Monday, launching construction of a new residence building on the main St. Catharines campus.
Residence 8 is a $40-million, six-storey student residence expected to be completed by summer 2021. The project is self-funded and will contribute to the University’s operating budget when it opens.
University President Gervan Fearon said Brock’s reputation for academic excellence and student experience has led to record enrolment and more students wanting to enrich their university experience by living on campus.
“We have a responsibility to help more students have that experience, but Brock also has a duty to our host communities,” said Fearon. “Brock needs to be part of the solution. We need to help accommodate the people we are attracting, and that’s what we are doing today. Residence 8 is a positive move for Brock and for our host communities.”
Residence 8 is the first Brock-owned housing complex to be built on campus since Lowenberger opened in 2003, when the University’s enrolment jumped because of the end of Grade 13 in Ontario high schools. The new facility’s 300 beds will increase Brock’s housing capacity to nearly 2,800.
“This project is important because demand for residence exceeds our capacity,” said Director of Residences Jamie Fleming. “We have a long waiting list, so we could have filled this residence this year if it was open.”
Residence 8 will be built beside the existing Alan Earp Residence using a section of what is currently Parking Lot M. In order to accommodate the building and to increase the University’s parking capacity overall, a new parking lot will be built on the east side of Ray Woodfield Drive parallel to Glenridge Avenue.
The new housing facility will include a new dining hall, a 24/7 service desk for students and a hub for Conference and Events Services.
The university also recently announced it was exploring opportunities to partner with private developers to increase student housing options by building residences near the main campus or in downtown St. Catharines.