Langara has cleared a significant hurdle in its planned expansion project, but cannot proceed further until the provincial government forks over the cash.
Zoning amendments for two new buildings were approved at a city hall public hearing on Oct. 30, but the college is now waiting on the approval of the province.
“We’ve done a lot of work to be ready,” said Roy Daykin, vice-president of administration and finance at Langara.
“When the government says ‘let’s go’, we’ll move fairly quickly,” he said.
Expansion will bring new buildings to campus
The completed project will provide students with a new science and student services building and a creative arts building, as well as upgrades to Building A. The current plans for expansion have been in the works for three or four years, according to Daykin, which is longer then he has been at Langara. He said the project is expected to cost an estimated $200 million.
Daykin isn’t surprised the government hasn’t yet given its approval.
“You’ve got 25 institutions all wanting a piece of that pie,” he said.
For example, the Research Universities’ Council of B.C., representing the interests of six universities, recently lobbied the government for $130 million for various expansion projects, scholarships and general funding for research.
Langara is part of BC Colleges, which represents 11 public community colleges in British Columbia. These conglomerates help colleges communicate their needs to the government. “It gives you a more co-ordinated, louder voice,” Daykin said.
Funding unlikely until next year
Daykin would not speculate on exactly when the college might get approval for funding. However, he does not believe that the college will see any money until after the provincial election in May 2013.
Daykin explained that the current project is all about providing a better space for students.
“But until government gives their approval with funding, we just sort of move along as we are moving along,” he said.
In the past, Langara has been successful at completing similar projects such as the recent expansion of the library and the Students’ Union Building.
“I’m optimistic that we will get the funding someday,” Daykin said.
“But if you are expecting it under the tree this year, you’re going to be disappointed.”
Reported by Gillian Hames