Students who started studying at KPU this year might be able to enjoy a student union building (SUB) of their very own before they graduate, according to the Kwantlen Student Association.
Murdoch de Mooy, KSA VP University Affairs, says that the current estimation of when the building will potentially be completed is roughly 4.5 years from now.
“Hopefully a bit less, but location and permits can slow things down, and we want to make sure students have a chance to participate in the consultation process,” he adds.
The KSA has been working towards the creation of a SUB on the Surrey campus for nearly a decade. A referendum in 2009 led to the introduction of the Student Union Building Fund to “build and operate student-owned SUB buildings,” as stated on the KSA’s list of continuing resolutions. Initial plans were to begin construction in 2011, but significant delays pushed the project back seemingly indefinitely.
In 2017 students voted to authorize a SUB debenture, and soon after the KSA formed a “steering committee” to once again direct plans towards construction of the building. Since that time there has not been significant progress towards building a SUB, and though a location for one has yet to be determined, the KSA are currently in the process of contracting a construction company for the project.
“There was an initial review of the proposals [for construction], and then an interview process,” explains de Mooy. “After all things were considered, the candidate that proved to be the best was confirmed as the one we’d like to work with.”
That candidate was Titanium Projects, who have previously been contracted to work on projects at UBC and BCIT. The company was responsible for the construction of UBC’s SUB Community Centre in 2015 which, according to the Titanium Projects website, provided a “living room” for students with amenities such as a climbing wall and a daycare.
De Mooy says he can not provide a specific date for when Titanium Projects will break ground on the KPU SUB, but says that the KSA will be working on a “fairly aggressive timeline once this contract is signed.”
“We have to take care of things like a feasibility study and discussions on exactly where the SUB will be placed,” he says. “During that time, the [Chief Procurement Officer] and the KSA will be going through extensive consultations with the student body on what they think should be in the building and how they think it should look.”
The cost of the SUB cannot be covered solely by student fees alone, so the KSA has made requests for loans of varying amounts as a fallback in case more money is needed to fund the project.
The most recent venture resolution request was for around $14 million, but the KSA will hold off on taking a loan until enough progress has been made on the project to necessitate doing so. De Mooy believes that that time could come within the year.
“We have made more progress on the SUB in the last year alone than all other years combined,” says de Mooy. “Once the construction contract is signed, it will be a significant milestone for the SUB process and will start the countdown until all of us students inevitably get our student union building.”