- The property, located at King George Boulevard and Fraser Highway is steps away from rapid transit with the nearby King George SkyTrain station.
- The announcement also rounds out Safe Surrey Coalition’s first-term benchmarks
The University of British Columbia is expanding its presence south of the Fraser River with the $70-million purchase of a property in Surrey.
UBC Properties Trust has acquired a 135,000-square-foot property—currently home to the Grace Hanin Community Church—at the intersection of King George Boulevard and Fraser Highway. The site, which is located close to SkyTrain, Surrey Memorial Hospital and other community amenities, is anticipated to be a combination of residential and commercial space which will generate revenue to enable the construction of dedicated academic facilities.
The acquisition of the Surrey site supports the achievement of a key commitment in UBC’s strategic plan to work with partners on the development of the university’s regional presence, as well as providing an exciting opportunity to improve access to post-secondary education in the Fraser region.
The announcement also rounds out Safe Surrey Coalition’s first-term benchmarks for the future (Public Safety, Transportation, Smart Development and Education).
While welcoming the announcement Surrey Mayor Dough Mcallum said in a press release, “The announcement represents a multi-year recruitment effort by the Safe Surrey Coalition caucus and a critical component for sustainable growth.”
“I was Mayor when SFU came to Surrey and have seen the huge effect that institution has had on residents’ plans for a long-term future in this community,” says McCallum. “Today’s announcement by UBC is a part of the Safe Surrey Coalition’s strategic plan to build a city where young people and young families can envision a path forward without having to leave the city.”
With those attending UBC forced into choosing between long daily commutes or moving out of Surrey altogether, this is a positive development for students charting their educational trajectory, according to Surrey Councillor Allison Patton.
“With a daughter that will graduate from high school over the next few years, I as a parent am pleased that Surrey’s students will have more local choices for the continuation of their education,” says Patton. “Family support and togetherness is something that many young people want to maintain during their post-secondary pursuits, and UBC’s upcoming Surrey campus will help to better facilitate that aspiration.”
The transition to the truly local Surrey Police Service, the construction currently under way on the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, balanced and smart local development policy-making and increasing local educational institutions are the four critical pillars of the Safe Surrey Coalition’s vision for Surrey’s livable future.
Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra is proud of these tangible accomplishments that will have a direct and immense impact on the quality of life for Surrey’s residents.
“From bringing local decision-making back to public safety to securing the first major transit infrastructure in 35 years to attracting yet another world-class post-secondary hub, we have laid a strong foundation for many generations to come,” says Guerra. “The legacy of these additions to Surrey will ensure we are well-positioned to emerge as BC’s most populous city over the next decade.”
UBC already has a significant presence south of the Fraser, with nearly 3,500 students, 750 faculty and staff, and thousands of alumni who call Surrey home. The university has numerous partnerships within the city of Surrey and other regional partners around urban design, sustainability, health technology and innovation, data science, traffic safety, K-12 education, immigrant settlement and more.
Together with Fraser Health, First Nations Health Authority and the Government of B.C., UBC trains health students and medical residents in the Fraser region. Every year, more than 4,900 health student and medical resident rotations take place in hospitals, primary care settings and clinics across the Fraser, where learners train alongside world-class clinical faculty in areas such as family practice, emergency medicine, midwifery and other specializations. About 200 students in nursing also undertake their training in Fraser Health, while about 100 pharmaceutical science students take part in placements at 57 sites in the Fraser region.
Next year, the university will begin consultation with Surrey and Fraser Valley communities, along with engaging in important dialogue with Indigenous leaders and communities. UBC students, faculty, clinical faculty and staff engagement will also get underway on regional and academic programming needs in order to determine the future vision for the site.
Santa J. Ono, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor said, “UBC is committed to creating welcoming spaces that advance innovation and collaboration and respond to community and regional needs—and this new site demonstrates this. We look forward to working with the City of Surrey, Fraser Health, First Nations Health Authority and regional partners to uncover the many exciting possibilities that this new project holds for the Surrey community and Fraser Valley, as well as UBC students, faculty and staff.”