UBCO downtown Kelowna tower will aim to invite the public in – Kelowna News

The UBC Okanagan tower proposed for downtown Kelowna will include an art gallery and space for community discussions in an attempt to make the new location inviting to the public.

The university released a handful of new details Wednesday on its planned 46-storey tower at Doyle Avenue and St Paul Street.

“We’re coming to the centre of the community that created us,” said Lesley Cormack, UBCO’s Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

The first eight storeys of the building will be academic floors, with rental housing for students and faculty above. Leased office space will also be available.

UBC’s School of Nursing, as well as its School of Social Work, will be situated in the building—bringing the school closer to partners like Interior Health and the Ki-Lo-Na Friendship Society.

The art gallery will host parts of UBC Okanagan’s art collection, which is now up to 800 pieces, and will allow students to express themselves and engage with the public. It will also host small travelling exhibitions.

UBCO will be hosting its soon-to-be-launched Master of Design degree downtown, geared towards working professionals.

A space the university is calling a “public engagement suite” will be “a place where individuals and groups collaborate with each other.”

Details on the suite are sparse, but UBCO said it could include unique tech like a sensory lab, which is designed to control sound, light and smell, with the aim of creating a state-of-the-art learning environment. It could also include wine education programming with UBC’s international partner, Université de Bordeaux.

“We really do want to be a partner downtown,” said Cormack during a town hall with faculty last month. “When you look at downtown campuses that do succeed versus those that don’t… the ones that do succeed have a plan and are intentional about their relationship with community.”

“Those that don’t succeed have their doors locked and everyone just gets in with a swipe card… We want to be the one that brings in community and make sure that it’s a vibrant place.”

Pending approvals from the City of Kelowna, UBCO is hoping to break ground downtown this fall.

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