With the foundation laid for 150 new beds of student housing at Selkirk College, the projects at the Silver King Campus in Nelson and the Castlegar Campus are taking a dramatic leap forward.
The modular build process being used in the construction of the $33.9 million project saw the Silver King Campus three-storey building erected quickly in early-May and the massive crane used to stack the pre-fabricated rooms is now on standby for the Castlegar Campus where it will be used for a similar outcome in mid-June.
“There is a Lego feel to it,” says Stephen Monahan, Selkirk College’s manager of capital projects. “This is an efficient way to build housing of this type and as the project progresses, we are seeing those advantages.”
In alignment with the Provincial Government's Homes for People Action Plan and funded by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education & Future Skills—with a contribution of $1.65 million from Columbia Basin Trust—the finished project will increase on-campus housing at Selkirk College by 71 per cent. Once complete, the Silver King Campus will have 35 units available for students and the Castlegar Campus will add 112.
The project broke ground in November 2022 under a design-build contract with Scott Builders. After months of work preparing the foundation at both sites, the modular units began arriving on transport trucks to the West Kootenay earlier in the spring from southern Alberta where they were fabricated by ROC Modular.
Built indoors at a massive temperature-controlled facility in the community of Bow Island, the modular units come complete with drywall, insulation, windows, cabinets, interior paint, electrical/plumbing and flooring. A crane is used to stack the modular units in a process that takes only a few days. The modular units are then sealed and weatherproofed in preparation for the next phase of construction.
The project includes 18 subtrades with approximately 90 individual workers on-site between both locations. Over the coming months, the local subtrades will continue to build the corridors between the modular units, add the siding/roofing, construct many of the common areas, landscape and complete all the details that will result in the much-needed housing units.
Local Crew Includes College Alumni
Working with Nelson-based Fuhrious Construction Ltd., Dannica Lampron is part of the sub-trade crew who helped with the foundation pours and will continue to work on the project in the coming months. Completing Selkirk College’s six-month Carpentry Foundation Program in January 2023, Lampron was hired by Fuhrious Construction as an apprentice where she is working towards the ultimate goal of Red Seal carpenter.
“It was very hard work and character building, but it was sweet,” Lampron says of the foundation component that was completed just a few steps from the Silver King Campus shop space where she was a student. “As an apprentice, it’s important to gather a variety of skills and work on a variety of projects. Getting to be part of this particular project is a great way to continue with my education.”
Incorporating modern design, the buildings place a premium on today’s learner. Aligning with BC’s Wood First Initiative and designed to meet Step 4 of the province’s Energy Step Code, the finished buildings will include welcoming common spaces, spacious communal kitchens, an allotment of family units and the all-important study rooms. On the Castlegar Campus there will be a beautifully designed covered walkway connecting the current 100-unit student housing facility with the new building.
“Access and affordability are core elements of a Selkirk College education,” says Kerry Clarke, vice president of college services and CFO. “Adding vital new units in both Castlegar and Nelson will enhance the student experience and provide more opportunities to more learners pursuing a post-secondary education in our region.”
The project is expected to be complete in early 2024 with full operation at both campuses in September 2024.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 42 modular units in total (12 at Silver King and 30 at Castlegar)
- 8 types of modules at Castlegar and 7 types of modules at Silver King, including everything from student rooms, study rooms, kitchens, laundries, stairs and mechanical/electrical space.
- One module can contain as many as six student rooms
- 82 washrooms (21 at Silver King and 61 at Castlegar)
- 150 beds (114 at Castlegar, 36 at Silver King)
- 3 family accommodation rooms (2 at Castlegar, 1 at SK) and 6 accessible rooms (4 at Castlegar, 2 at SK)
- 6 communal kitchens (3 at each)
- 402 doors (115 at SK, 287 at Castlegar)
- 339 pages of design drawings. (137 for SK, 202 for Castlegar)