Photo by David Vassiliev / The Phoenix News
Photo by David Vassiliev / The Phoenix News

In the fall of 2014, UBCSUO President Rocky Kim began the campaign #buildUBC with the hope of creating awareness surrounding the library referendum. Now, two years later, after a vote to add $70 to every student’s annual fees, the results of #morelibrary and #buildUBC are coming to fruition. Results of the campaign saw students asking for not only more study space, but informal areas with couches, whiteboards or sliding walls to adjust study

rooms, and more computer accessibility. With ground breaking set to occur in early 2017, it looks like many of the items on the #morelibrary wish list might be on the way!

With a capped budget of $35 million, UBCO students will be contributing $10 million through the library levy fee. UBC and external donors will be covering the remaining $20-25 million. “Once all of our funding is confirmed we will have the go ahead to break ground, but we’re aiming for January 2017”, explains UBCSUO President Blake Edwards, “While many of our current students won’t have the chance to experience the new addition to the library, it will be an exciting new addition to the UBC Okanagan campus for future students to use, and a legacy of those who are helping pay for the building.”

The library extension, officially titled the Teaching and Learning Centre, will see many UBCO students’ needs met. Features of the new building include a larger lecture hall with the capacity to host up to 400 people (currently, UBCO’s largest lecture hall seats 300), as well as both formal and informal study spaces. These study spaces will relieve the stress on the current demand for study spaces (or lack thereof ) on campus by adding many more seats to both silent and casual spaces. Informal spaces will be included in the building layout as well, to accommodate study groups or social gatherings, amongst other programming. The building will also host a state- of-the-art digital media centre, although there are few details on what that will entail.

While many students will not get to use the space due to graduation prior to the completion of the building, as Blake Edwards mentioned, the Teaching and Learning Centre is a definite win for this campus. Study space is constantly an issue up for discussion by both students and administration; you can forget about finding anywhere completely silent to focus and get any work done. The Teaching and Learning Centre will fill in a gap in UBCO’s infrastructure, and provide a space for further learning and social interaction on campus. Newer and incoming undergrads will get to experience the building from its construction through to completion, and get to utilize the space. For those of you leaving UBC Okanagan before then, it’s now your legacy, and you can be proud of the changes you’ve made on this campus.