UBC 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.
President Santa Ono welcomed the announcement, reiterating that UBC is committed to spaces that advance innovation and collaboration and respond to community and regional needs.
He added: “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.”
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 with other regional partners around urban design, sustainability, health technology and innovation, data science, traffic safety, K-12 education, immigrant settlement and more.
“This expansion will support UBC’s growing presence in the region,” said Andrew Szeri, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver. “It will drive the outstanding research and learning that has made UBC a top global university.”
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 within the Fraser region.
"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."Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor
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.
More information regarding the community consultation process will be shared in the coming months.