Bow Valley College eyes Calgary Central Library for expansion
The economic downturn has many Calgarians going back to school, and Bow Valley College is seeing an increase in student interest
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Bow Valley College is bursting at the seams.
Alberta’s largest and fastest-growing comprehensive community institution has seen enormous growth over the past three years, and looking to the future may need to push their own walls out to the Central Library – or other nearby spaces – to keep up with future demand.
“We really are experiencing unprecedented growth and pressure on enrolment” said Gayle Burnett, Vice President, College Services and Chief Financial Officer. “That’s driving us to look at expansion opportunities.
Burnett said in the last three years, the school has seen a 25 per cent increase in their full-load equivalent students. What’s more, this past September, Bow Valley saw full time enrolment up 10 per cent.
“That’s the highest rate of full-time student growth in five years,” Burnett said. “We’re relating that to the pressures within Calgary during the economic downturn, more people being available and interested in developing additional skill sets to be employable in a new economy.”
Burnett said the school’s planned expansion is at least four years away, but in the meantime they are “exploring different options.”
In 2018, the Central Library location will move to the East Village, leaving behind a building that’s already neighbour to Bow Valley College’s downtown campus.
“We’re interested in how we could potentially develop that space when the Library opens its new location,” Burnett said. “We’re interested in potential partnerships with other groups in adjacent property – we’re really exploring options at this time.”
The new spaces could be for a variety of different needs. Burnett explained they have seen a lot of growth in online programming, which puts less pressure on the need for classrooms and opens up a need for meeting spaces. Innovation and maker spaces are also on the horizon.
“We also get into what might be needed in the future in terms of meeting space, community space,” Burnett said. “We’re pretty open right now, and excited about exploring a number of opportunities.”