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New student housing opens at Selkirk College’s Silver King Campus

The building adds 36 units for students in Nelson
Selkirk College faculty, students, elected officials and developers came together March 21 to open the new student housing building at Nelson’s Silver King Campus. Photo: Tyler Harper

Diogo Monteiro may not be attending Selkirk College without student housing.

Monteiro is a first-year student from Penticton in the college’s electrical program. He’s also among the first to move into the new 36-unit student housing at Nelson’s Silver King Campus, which held its grand opening March 21.

Before he moved to Nelson, Monteiro said he considered staying in Penticton for schooling but was concerned by the rents. He applied to be on the waitlist for Silver King’s new building and was relieved to be accepted.

“It was super helpful because I was stressed. I thought I was going to have to find a place to live. I actually did find cheap rent, but it’s definitely nicer to be in the dorms and have it all accommodated for me.”

The three-storey building is the first student housing at the campus in its 60-year history. It comes with furnished rooms, study spaces with computers, common kitchens, a lounge and bike storage room. Two rooms are designed for accessibility, while another was built to house a small family.

The project is one of two student housing developments by Selkirk College to open this year. A 112-unit building is expected to begin receiving students at the Castlegar Campus prior to the fall semester in September.

The two buildings cost a total of $37.7 million, with the provincial government’s Homes for People Action Plan funding $36.1 million and the remainder coming from Columbia Basin Trust.

Taya Whitehead, Selkirk’s vice-president of Education and Students, said the new building will be a boon for Silver King where the college hosts its trades programs.

Prior to its opening, Selkirk’s only other student housing in Nelson was across the city at the Tenth Street Campus, which features 106 units. The monthly cost for a rental at Silver King is $895.

“Trade students often have the barrier that they’re only here for a short period of time, which means they’re looking for things like an Airbnb or short-term rental, which is often much more expensive than a regular rental,” said Whitehead.

The new student housing also includes a dedicated Indigenous gathering space with a design inspired by pit houses.

Dianne Biin, Selkirk’s director of Indigenous Education and Engagement who is of Tŝilhqot’in heritage, said the space will host regular cultural programming. It also includes a separate room that can be used by visiting elders and the college’s Indigenous counsellors.

Of the college’s student population, just over eight per cent are Indigenous students. Biin said many of them are coming for education in the trades.

“We do have Indigenous students that are all around our different campuses and learning centres, and so [this is] having a space on campus that’s just for Indigenous students to really come in to just be with one another and to just re-ground themselves in whatever they’re doing.”

Silver King Campus has undergone substantial changes in the last five years.

Originally the BC Vocational School when it opened in 1964, it was incorporated by Selkirk College in 1975. It’s first major upgrade in 2019 when a $23-million project was completed to add a new student building, new carpentry building and other classroom renovations.

Two years later Selkirk cut the ribbon on a childcare centre at the campus operated by Kootenay Kids that offers 24 spaces for children of students and the general community.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Selkirk College had 600-to-800 Indigenous students. The actual number is eight per cent of all enrolment.


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Silver King Campus student housing features 36 units, including one purpose-built for a small family and two others that are accessibility friendly. Photo: Tyler Harper
A student lounge is one of the new spaces included in the building. Photo: Tyler Harper

Tyler Harper

About the Author: Tyler Harper

I’m editor-reporter at the Nelson Star, where I’ve worked since 2015.
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