UW announces plan to build new residence 500-bed building will prioritize Indigenous principles, sustainability


UW has announced its plans to build a new 500-bed residence building, which will be located on the main campus. Pending approval, groundbreaking for the building will occur in July 2024, with a targeted opening date of fall 2026.

The project is taking place in collaboration with UW’s Office of Indigenous Relations as well as the Indigenous-owned architecture firm Two Row. The building team aims to prioritize Indigenous design principles and engagement within the new residence. This includes gathering spaces for smudging, a cleansing ceremony, live-in spaces for Elders, and a community healing garden which will allow for the cultivation of sacred and traditional medicine plants.

Sustainability and accessibility are also prioritized within the new residence design. The building will include multiple accessible room options, bridge and ground-level connections to the main campus, all-gender washrooms, and dedicated counseling spaces. Some of the sustainability features include the use of recycled building materials and air source heat pumps (a low-carbon heating system), with the ultimate goal for the building to be net-neutral. 

As well as providing housing for first-year students, the university hopes to provide a space for upper-years within the new residence. This means that the building will include both traditional dorm-style rooms, as well as more independent living options for upper years who want to remain on campus.

The new building is part of the Campus Housing Facilities Strategy, a plan that aims to revitalize UW’s residence buildings. The university has also stated its hope that the new residence will improve housing access for UW students given the ongoing housing crisis.