Capital and space planning

student housing construction
New Student Housing and Dining Project under construction – September 2021

5 year capital plan

The University of Victoria’s success is built on the provision of high-quality education and outstanding student experience, excellence in research and the conscious integration of research and teaching, within a diverse and welcoming environment. In 2022, the university commenced the development of a new Strategic Plan and Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. The university’s Five Year Capital Plan reflects directions from these planning processes as well as the academic priorities of the university as articulated in the Planning and Budget Framework, Indigenous Plan, Campus Plan and our Institutional Accountability Plan and Report to the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training (AEST). One of the emerging areas of the new Strategic Plan is to cultivate a campus that provides extraordinary teaching and learning experiences within spaces that support collaboration and connection. Our Capital Plan is a key planning document that outlines the university’s infrastructure needs, which are a vital component required to achieve this key goal. Capital projects fit into six different categories: new priority, whole asset replacement or renewal, student housing, routine capital, carbon neutral, and linear infrastructure. The following, in priority order, are the major capital projects for the campus:

  1. Murray and Anne Fraser Building Interiors Modernization and Seismic Upgrade

    The university is planning for the renewal of the Fraser Building to be completed in conjunction with the construction of the National Centre for Indigenous Laws as an addition to the building. The project ensures the long-term preservation of a key institutional building and significantly improves life safety through seismic upgrades and life safety systems. Safety improvements include fire safety systems, seismic bracing and electrical substation upcharge. The project will also result in upgrades to HVAC systems which will reduce GHG emissions. It is anticipated that the renewed HVAC equipment will reduce carbon emissions by 231 tCO2e/yr. Interior improvements are planned to address functional deficiencies and programmatic gaps to better support the Faculty of Law. The project will be phased. Seismic upgrading of the building will be completed as a separate project.

  2. Student Housing

    Planning for the next phase of on-campus student housing expansion will continue to help address student demand, as well as the acute regional need for increased rental housing. Living on campus contributes to institutional goals related to the UVic student experience, with areas of focus including successful transition to the university, supportive academic and social programming and fostering a strong sense of belonging in the UVic community. The university is currently constructing 621 net new beds on campus, which includes additional programs and supports for Indigenous students including areas for smudging and an Indigenous student lounge. Additional housing is needed with a focus on graduate and upper year undergraduate students. Housing availability and affordability within the Victoria area remains a significant challenge for students. UVic will continue to experience excess demand for on-campus accommodation and is planning for additional student housing to meet this demand. The university is planning for a minimum of 500 new housing beds.

  3. Mearns Centre for Learning - McPherson Library Interiors Modernization and Seismic Upgrade

    The Mearns Centre for Learning - McPherson Library is one of the oldest buildings on campus. The main library was completed in two phases (1963, 1974) and remains the busiest building on campus with between 1.4 and 2 million annual visits by students, faculty, staff, and community members. In 2017, the university developed plans to seismically upgrade the Renewal of the structure. In addition to life safety improvements, interior spaces also require renewal to provide innovative and contemporary spaces that facilitate new directions in teaching, research, and community learning. Interior renovations will also improve spaces for university and community engagement, increase graduate student study and research space, and address the needs of the university art collections. Similar to the renewal of the Fraser Building, if funding is available, these projects could occur simultaneously in order to minimize disruption to library services.

  4. Petch Building and Jamie Cassels Centre Farquhar Auditorium Seismic Upgrade

    The Petch Building was completed in 1986 and contains the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and the Centre for Biomedical Research. The seismic upgrade project includes interior and exterior re-enforcement of the building structure.

    The 1,200 seat Jamie Cassels Centre Farquhar Auditorium is the premiere performing arts space on campus. The facility was completed in 1972 and hosts a variety of campus events, including convocation as well as community events such as the Victoria Symphony. This project includes improvements to the structural performance of the roof structure while minimizing impacts on the acoustic qualities of the performance venue.

  5. Campus Active Transportation Improvement Program

    The Active Transportation Improvement Program will enhance active transportation infrastructure through the renewal and upgrading of current pathways, sidewalks and roads as outlined in the university’s Campus Cycling Plan and Campus Greenway. The program includes renewal and safety improvements to 2.1KMs of pathways and 3.5KMs of roadways. Once implemented, this project will not only improve pedestrian and cycling access on campus but also as regional connections through the municipalities of Saanich and Oak Bay. Upgraded amenities are a key strategy in achieving our goal of 70% of all trips to campus utilizing transit, cycling, walking or carpooling.

    The project also includes landscape renewal and improvements to reflect the traditional territories of Indigenous communities.

Facilities planning is continuous in order to address changes in student program demand and support services, as well as evolving research and teaching requirements to ensure they reflect societal need. To address these changing needs, the university undertakes planning activities that inform future capital requirements, both major capital and annual routine capital. Over the next few years this work will include reviewing space needs for the Faculty of Science and other emerging academic needs. As well, work will be undertaken to plan for future expansion requirements beyond five years that takes into account our emerging theme from our Strategic Planning process to promote more collaboration, partnerships and interdisciplinary approaches to research. This goal leads to thinking about and planning for more flexible, multipurpose shared space.

For further details on the capital plan please read the 2023-24 Capital Plan.

For information on current projects in construction please visit the current projects page of the campus planning website. Current major capital projects in construction include the Student Housing and Dining Project, Engineering and Computer Science Expansion and the National Centre for Indigenous Law.

Contact Mike Wilson for capital and space planning issues: 250-472-5433.