University of Calgary

Room to grow

UToday HomeDecember 12, 2012

View from west of new First Year Plaza and Housing located at 24th Avenue.View from west of new First Year Plaza and Housing located at 24th Avenue.There’s good news for students in a new residence Master Plan designed to increase on-campus housing and enhance the student experience. The plan is still at the preliminary stages, with design concepts, costing and timelines still to be finalized through an ongoing consultation process.

The Residence Master Plan, currently pegged at a preliminary $240 million estimate, envisions four phases that could span over 15 years and would involve renovations and new construction. The first phase, which would see 580 new beds in new buildings, is proposed to be completed prior to the University’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2016.

“The Residence Master Plan is driven by the qualitative outcomes and aspirational goal of helping shape academic success. It will also change the perceptions about living on campus,” says Voula Cocolakis, executive director, Residence and Ancillary Services who presented the plan at last week's Board of Governor's meeting.

Taken in concert with the development of the Taylor Family Digital Library, Yamnuska Hall and the Energy, Environment and Experiential Learning (EEEL) Building, this master residence plan highlights the university’s commitment to enhancing the student experience.

“Residence is more than just a place to live – it is a community that supports student initiatives, fosters mentoring, provides early interventions and increases opportunities to build relationships early in a student’s experience,” says Cocolakis.

Research also suggests that these strategies can improve student academic performance for those living in residence.

The Eyes High vision, the Academic Plan and the Strategic Research Plan outline a wide-ranging agenda to propel the University of Calgary into one of the top five research universities in Canada, grounded in innovative teaching and learning and fully integrated with the community. A key tenet of the Academic Plan is to increase on-campus student housing to 15 per cent of undergraduate enrolment by 2022 and also focus on new graduate housing. The plan also includes housing for international students, families and graduate students. This would boost the number of beds to 3,677 from the current capacity of 2,523.

Numerous institutions in the U15 – the group of the 15 leading research-intensive Canadian universities – have added to their residence capacity over the past five to 10 years, and continue to do so, primarily for the high value the residential experience brings to its students.

“The Residence Master Plan is driven by the goal of helping shape academic success. We look forward to the next round of consultation we plan to have with the campus community,” says Cocolakis.