Housing aimed at faculty, staff

Planners hope a new campus housing development will help attract the best and the brightest to the university

Construction crews have broken ground on the development of a 53-unit faculty and staff housing complex aimed at adding much- needed residential rental housing for faculty and staff on university grounds.

The development will mean a boost in campus housing for staff and faculty and should help the university in its faculty recruiting efforts.

According to the university's vision statement, Trek 2000, UBC expects more than 45 per cent of its faculty and 30 per cent of its staff to retire by 2005.

"Our ability to attract and retain outstanding people depends upon our competitiveness in the national and international market," says UBC President Martha Piper.

"Housing costs can be a serious deterrent to our recruitment and retention efforts. This initiative is a positive step towards addressing this issue."

The housing being constructed on the southeast corner of Thunderbird Boulevard and West Mall will comprise 11 two-and three-bedroom townhomes, 18 two-bedroom cityhomes and 24 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

It is the first portion of a two-phase, 95-unit project for the site.

Most units will have a designated study space and rent is expected to range from $900 to $1,680 a month.

The university currently has 300 units of staff and faculty housing on campus that offer temporary accommodations--occupants can stay for a maximum of three years.

"The housing currently under development will not have restrictions on term of rental," says Al Poettcker, president of UBC Properties Trust, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBC which is in charge of the development.

"As long as one of the occupants teaches or works at the university, they can reside in the units."

According to Fred Pritchard, UBC's director of planning, the unit's eventual occupants will have to apply for the new accommodations. Selection criteria have yet to be determined.

"The selection criteria is a work in progress right now," he says. "But it'll largely be driven by the Trek initiative to retain and recruit faculty and staff."

Poettcker expects construction of the townhouses to be completed by the fall with units available for rental next January.