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Future still uncertain for Langara’s creative arts departments

The decision for what institution will take over the Granville Island building will be reviewed in the following weeks

Langara College is one of many institutions interested in moving to a newly vacated Granville Island building. Photo by Natalia Buendia Calvillo
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Reported by Natalia Buendia Calvillo

Updates and clarifies with Langara College unable to confirm if electives would be taken on current campus or not.

After spending the last year trying to secure the recently vacated South Building of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus on Granville Island, Langara College may be out of luck.

Rodney Porter, communications director at the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training, said “in the coming weeks, we will be reviewing the next steps to determine the future usage of the space.” The ministry, a long-term leaseholder for the South Building, cannot disclose who has shown interest or what type of institution will occupy the space.

Porter could not say whether the space would, in fact, be used by an education institution.

Ajay Patel, vice-president of external development at Langara, said via email that the college has reiterated its interest of taking on the available space to Minister Melanie Mark during her visit last August.

News reports have speculated that Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Capilano University, Arts Umbrella, and even U.S.-based organization Delancey Street Foundation are among the institutions said to be interested in the space.

Students not interested in moving

Under Langara’s plan, the potential Granville Island location would house some 2,500 Langara creative arts students from departments such as web development, photography, aboriginal carving and other fine arts creative arts departments.

The college could not confirm if prerequisite electives such as English, mathematics and history for the creative arts programs would also be moving to the new facilities. Last spring, however, division chair for creative arts Tomo Tanaka said the department was looking at possible solutions to ease the commute between the current campus on W 49 Ave. and Granville Island.

Alston So, a first-year fine arts student, said the potential commute between campuses would be difficult if electives were still at Langara.

“I really don’t think I would like that,” he said. “If so, I would definitely like the courses to be separated by day.”

For other students, it is the atmosphere at Langara that makes them hesitant to change campuses.

“It wouldn’t be the same vibe as Langara, I like it here,” said fine arts student Miho McLaughlin. “Different people getting together. If it was just going to be for creative arts then it would be kind of a small school vibe.”

While Langara waits for an answer, a $1.58 million investment from the federal and provincial governments funded the replacement of two 1970-era fans in Building A; the project is estimated to be finished in Spring 2018.

Read our related story about the creative arts programs that may need to relocate.

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