Another ribbon was cut in Nelson this week marking another step forward for this community.
For many years the old student residence building in the corner of the Tenth Street Campus sat as a reminder of the days when upper Fairview bustled with student activity. For the last decade Selkirk College continued to bring the spirit of learning to the campus classrooms, but the residence buildings were a black mark. Sitting empty and looking Eastern Bloc, it was a symbol of opportunity lost.
After a $7 million renovation to the building, the new dorms stand as a symbol of a new era for post secondary learning in the Nelson area. With its beautiful glass atrium and new home smell, the project has brought new life to the neighbourhood.
Selkirk administration is excited about the 100 dorm rooms because it will help alleviate the student housing crunch and make the school more appealing to those looking at the college from out-of-town.
Locals should be excited because it brought construction jobs to the community which provided a short-term economic boon. In the longer term, the more success Selkirk has will ultimately make the entire community stronger.
One of the biggest lessons to be learned from the Selkirk dorm project is patience.
The decaying dorms were a huge issue for community leaders for many years. In 2009, the wait started to pay off with partnerships between the federal, provincial and local governments. A spirit of cooperation helped make it a reality.
Looking around at other projects and issues in the city, patience will again be required. The Civic Theatre, the old CPR building, the outdoor skatepark, Davies Street Park… all are currently in a stage of flux and many are growing impatient for a final outcome. If the new dorms at Selkirk are an example, the wait will be worth it.