New Student Housing

East-facing rendering of new Student Housing and Dining. Fill out our survey on the proposed designs below.
East-facing rendering of new Student Housing and Dining. Fill out our survey on the proposed designs below.

New student housing and dining

The two new student housing and dining buildings will provide 620 beds for students currently living off campus, and help address the acute regional need for rental housing. The project will include a new 600-seat dining hall, wide range of meeting rooms, informal gathering places, designated Indigenous student lounge and classrooms. Design and construction will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Passive House standards, the most rigorous global building standards for sustainability and energy efficiency. A rejuvenated outdoor area will connect with the planned Campus Greenway east-west corridor. The BC government announced in Nov. 2018 that it will contribute financing of $123 million toward the total cost of approximately $201 million.

UVic’s Campus Plan guides the physical growth and change on the campus and its outlying lands. The new student housing project is the first significant capital project since the Campus Plan was renewed in 2016. This important project will build on the ideas generated through the Campus Plan and will help achieve our vision as not only an extraordinary academic environment, but also a vibrant and sustainable community that nurtures student experience and well-being.

What will the new housing include?

How many beds?

The two new student housing buildings will include 783 beds. 621 of these will be new beds for students currently living off-campus and 162 will replace beds from the current housing buildings. The new student housing will respond to a broad range of student needs, including people with a wide range of physical abilities. The buildings will offer traditional dorm rooms, and new "community-living" style rooms which include single rooms with a shared kitchen and living area.

Where will it be located?

The creation of the 2016 Campus Plan involved extensive community engagement. Part of the Campus Plan renewal process involved identifying a number of different sites on campus that might work for a modern building for student housing. The university has selected two sites, “Ring Road” and “Cadboro Commons,” that will accommodate two new buildings for student housing on campus. These sites were supported by Campus Planning Committee and the President in November 2017.

  • Building 1: Located to the south of the Student Union Building, this site will require the deconstruction of Emily Carr Residence and Margaret Newton Residence. The new building will include a dining hall and servery on the main floor with student housing on the upper floors. This site will be developed first.
  • Building 2: The construction of a new student residence on this site will require the deconstruction of the existing Cadboro Commons building. The new building will include conference, meeting and academic space on the main floor with student housing on the upper floors.
Student housing and dining site plan.
New Student Housing and Dining site plan. 

What about parking?

The proposed student housing project will provide housing on campus for 621 students currently living in the community. The project will not displace existing parking stalls. Students living on campus generate less parking demand than those students living in the community. As a result, daily commuting trips to and from the campus will decrease and demand for parking on campus is also expected to decrease by 74 parking stalls.

Uvic offers the following transportation alternatives on campus to support sustainable transportation:

  • SPOKES is a unique bicycle upcycling and loan program that provides low-cost, long or short-term bike rentals
  • There are two car-share programs available on the UVic campus including Modo and ZipCar.
  • U-Pass provides students with unlimited access to Victoria region public transit and the new student housing project is located within 200 m of the UVic Transit Exchange.
  • UVic also offers the UVic Employee bus pass program that offers more than 50% off the regular price.
  • The new student housing project will also integrate 56 secure, indoor bicycle storage (32 in Site 1 and 24 in Site 2), 46 short-term uncovered and 193 long-term covered bike parking stalls, and end-of-trip facilities in each building.

What about sustainability?

The buildings will be designed and constructed to meet both LEED and Passive House standards, a first for the campus. 

Passive House can reduce energy consumption by up to 80% by using techniques like: triple-glazed windows, solar sharing, a reduced window to wall ratio, and more insulation to reduce heat loss. 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) results in more energy and resource-efficient buildings with techniques including: low flow fixtures, drought tolerant plantings, low VOC interior finishes, and energy efficient fixtures and appliances. 

The project will incorporate the following Sustainable Design Principles: 

  • Build up rather than out and use an efficient building footprint to conserve greenspace. 
  • Use passive design principles to reduce energy use and GHG emissions, creating a showcase project for the university.
  • Focus on user comfort, health, physical and mental wellness, personal growth and development. 
  • Minimize waste from construction, deconstruction, and operations. 
  • Design durable, adaptable, and low maintenance buildings to reduce life cycle costs. 
  • Foster sense of community through an inclusive and welcoming design. 
  • Display sustainable element and operations to inspire positive behaviours and stewardship. 
  • Incorporate Indigenous design elements to create opportunities for learning and promote mutual understanding and respect. 

Spirit of place

As we consider the future, we will preserve the spirit of place inherited from the past, respecting and supporting the commitments to environmental stewardship and sustainability that are so widely shared in our community and our culture.  

As part of the design and process, the project will explore opportunities to recognize and preserve the spirit of place inherited from the past, and connect students to Indigenous communities and the history of the traditional territories where UVic resides. Building on UVic’s Indigenous Plan, the project design process will explore opportunities to include design elements that can educate the campus community about Indigenous history and culture.

We acknowledge and respect the Lkwungen-speaking peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

What we've heard so far

Over 1,200 campus and community members have engaged on planning principles and early design concepts. 


In November 2018, the campus and neighbouring communities were engaged on the proposed designs for final feedback before applications were submitted to the District of Saanich for approval. A copy of the engagement summary can be found here. 

In June 2018, the community was engaged on early design concepts for each of the buildings. The community was also engaged on sustainable design principles. A copy of the engagement summary can be found here.

The broader community was engaged in March of 2018 to provide feedback on the planning principles for each of the sites including; building massing and height, pedestrian promenades, vehicle/delivery access and transportation and parking. A copy of the engagement summary can be found here.

UVic Students were engaged in the fall of 2017 and provided early feedback on room furnishings, interior common rooms, outdoor landscape design and meal plan options. A copy of the engagement summary can be found here. 

Project updates


Project schedule

Given the demand for housing on campus, low vacancy rates in the community and cost escalation in the construction market, the construction manager, Ellis Don Kinetic (EDK), was asked to explore options to expedite the project. EDK determined that the only approach that would result in a significant schedule reduction was to compress the project timelines to one phase.

This approach will result in all deconstruction occurring at once, and requires the installation of a Modular Dining Facility for use until the permanent new dining facility is operational. The one phase approach will allow for both building to be completed in early 2023, 16 months earlier than the original projected four-year schedule. 

The Modular Dining Facility will be located in Parking Lot B, adjacent to the Bob Wright centre and McPherson Library/Mearns Centre. In January 2020, parking lot B will close in preparation. To minimize disruption to the campus community, the installation of the facility will take place in May-June 2020, with meal service beginning in September 2020. The 500-seat modular facility will provide students with the same or higher quality food services as currently available in the Cadboro Commons cafeteria.

The project team will continue to keep the campus and neighbouring communities informed of project updates. 

Site plan for modular food services facility in Parking Lot B. 


Development variance permit

In August 2019, Saanich Council unanimously approved the application for permits to the two new buildings. The Development Variance Permit (DVP) was submitted in December 2018 to request to vary the permitted height of the buildings from 10m to 30m and 38m respectively.  The application also requested to vary the required number of vehicle parking spaces. Students living on campus generate very little parking demand (less than 1 parking stall per 10 housing beds) and it is anticipated that the Project will result in an overall net reduction in parking demand of 74 spaces.

The DVP was resubmitted in May 2019 to request to temporary parking variance for the Modular Dining Facility, as the facility would result in the displacement of 68 reserved and short-term parking spaces in Parking Lot B for approximately 30 months. The university’s 2018 parking occupancy survey showed that the university maintains excess capacity of reserved spaces and displaced parking can be accommodated elsewhere on campus.

Site preparation

The early site preparation work to building exteriors, roads and utility upgrades began in spring 2019. The selective deconstruction of Cadboro Common’s concrete bridge walkways, stairs and exterior walls, and the widening of the access lane from Sinclair to the SUB was completed in summer 2019. 

Community engagement

Engagement framework

Community Engagement is an essential component of planning for new student housing. We want to hear from students, staff, community members and other stakeholders to help shape plans for the project. Open Houses and community meetings took place in November 2018 to share proposed building and landscape designs. A summary of the input from the community can be found here.

Community association presentation

In November 2018, the proposed building designs were presented to neighbouring community associations in Saanich. The presentation can be found here.

In June 2018, an overview of the preliminary schematic design was presented to neighbouring community associations in Saanich. The presentation can be found here.

In February 2018, a brief overview of the project was presented to each of the neighbouring community associations in Saanich. The presentation can be found here. 

Project team

The architectural team leading the new student residence project is Perkins + Will. 

Perkins + Will brings leadership and expertise in the design and planning of student life facilities, having worked with nearly 300 colleges and universities across the country and internationally over the past 30 years.  They’ve assembled a team of local and international professionals who are leaders in their fields of engineering, food services planning, public engagement and sustainability.

For further information contact Mike Wilson, Director – Campus Planning and Sustainability at 250-472-5433 or