Providence University College says interim housing to accommodate their students after the loss of Bergen Hall in June has been going well.
Marlin Reimer says when looking at how to accommodate all the students, the former women's dorm was changed into a men's dorm and then temporary units were brought in to house the women.
As well, Reimer notes, "this past summer we did some renovations on some buildings we had been not using or using sparingly. So, we put in new furniture, basically a reno of a number of these buildings. We brought in some temporary units and those units are probably some of our nicest housing on campus as far as room space."
Cameron McKenzie adds about 60% of the student body lives on campus and even with the 15% increase in enrollment this year they were able to accommodate everyone without having to go off campus to find housing.
McKenzie says the destruction of Bergen Hall was an unfortunate event that was not planned for or hoped for, however, it has created an opportunity for the school.
"It has created an opportunity that we really want to be good stewards of. A couple of years ago the Providence board articulated a vision for Providence to be identified among Canada's foremost Christian universities. That is, we want to be a learning community that transforms students into leaders of character, knowledge, and faith."
Eichhorse Hall, several renovated four-plexes that will be housing women this year. (Photo credit: Providence)
He notes when Bergen Hall was first built, about 34 years ago, dorms were a space for students to spend their evenings and nights. McKenzie says in the movement towards higher education, the lines between the classroom experience and the residence experience have been blurred to enhance the student's living and learning experience.
"So, what we're doing in our planning is thinking about and planning for how we can incorporate into the residence those kinds of spaces that will enable students to be able to maximize their experience, their success as students, their participation in developing leadership characteristics, engaging with a really significant international student population that is a part of the Providence community, as well as continuing to foster a deep and transformative spiritual experience."
Reimer adds the school is now at a place where they can create a thoughtfully designed residence which matches a thoughtfully designed residence program.
McKenzie says the timeline for architectural plans, insurance coverage funds, and meeting with the board of directors to discuss plans and how to proceed has been set for December.