By: Hannah Kazemi, Staff Writer
SFU’s residence and housing community has grown steadily over the years, with the most recent development plan being two new family-oriented rental buildings in UniverCity. According to the media release put out by SFU, the 90 new units are part of their five-phase Residence and Housing Masterplan. These units are set to open to students with spouses or common-law partners and/or children this fall. The Peak reached out to SFU’s Residence and Housing team to learn more about these new buildings and what SFU students can expect.
According to Residence and Housing, the need for family-oriented housing on campus has been in the works for a while and they “have known for some time that there is demand for family housing.” This came from “requests, enquiries from students, and student surveys conducted by Residence and Housing” over the years.
SFU already has an extensive network of undergraduate residence buildings on the west side of campus, however “students with families have specific needs that our current inventory of student housing cannot easily meet, and our hope is this dedicated family housing will increase the options available and help create an inclusive environment for all students,” they said.
Residence and Housing told The Peak they regularly seek student feedback in order to determine the needs of current students. The feedback gathered is used to “determine a variety of outcomes, including types of amenity spaces as well as other student needs such as Wi-Fi, furniture, usage of space, dining services and more.”
The two new buildings were designed with the goal of “supporting an inclusive and vibrant on-campus student community” in mind. Students can expect common areas and study spaces on each floor of the buildings, as well as an outdoor courtyard and various other outdoor spaces for resident use. The idea is that students with families can engage with the SFU community while also having access to spaces where they can make connections with students in similar situations.
With the location of the buildings being part of the UniverCity community, they are also in close proximity to “childcare, [an] elementary school, stores, and other amenities of UniverCity [that] makes it particularly convenient for parents of young children.”
The Residence and Housing team also noted the buildings are “designed to Passive House specifications, meaning they are designed for thermal efficiency and will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, minimizing energy usage.” As stated on the Residence and Housing website, the units come unfurnished; however, the cost does include high-speed Wi-Fi, heat, hot water, and electricity.
In order to qualify for family housing, “one adult resident must meet SFU’s academic credit requirements, and have a spouse or common-law partner, and/or one or more children under 19 years old.”
When asked about what’s next in terms of on-campus housing, Residence and Housing noted they are “continuing to deliver on [their] Residence and Housing Master Plan, which aims to house 3,250 students at the Burnaby campus by 2035,” a major increase from the 1,900+ students that currently live on campus.
“The next major addition to campus will be Phase 2, scheduled for completion in Spring 2023, which will add 369 single-occupancy rooms for undergraduate students. Residence and Housing is also taking on projects to upgrade and improve our older buildings, ensuring they will continue to be available for many years to come.”
They also have plans to improve housing opportunities for students across more than just the Burnaby Mountain campus, with a survey currently being conducted through students’ SFU emails about housing needs for students attending the Surrey campus.
For more information on the family unit housing, visit the SFU Residence website.