Tall Wood: More than just beds

The newly established Brock Commons, set to open for housing in the summer of 2017, will be available to upper-level and graduate students at the university, according to Andrew Parr, managing director of UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS).

The building will consist of a total of 404 studios and four-bedroom shared units, which will be given a fairly even rental price. While SHHS have not reached a final pricing structure to provide students, Parr estimated that the average price of a four-bedroom shared unit will be around $1,100 per student, while studio units will start at around $900 per student.

Students interested in living in the highly sustainable building will follow the same process of applying online for housing accommodation.

SHHS have acknowledged the building as being an important step in a long-term process of increasing the number of housing units amidst the growing need to help accommodate a greater number of students each year.

“First and most importantly, the construction of the building was carried out solely for the purpose of creating more housing for students,” said Parr on plans for future development. “We want to make the students feel more comfortable with the housing experience and that’s a priority.”

While Parr cites student housing as the sole purpose for creating the building, it also serves as an opportunity to test new technologies, continue research into tall wood buildings and help the BC economy.

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Courtesy UBC

Parr went on to discuss the environmental and economic benefits of such a project, particularly with regard to the sustainability’s impact on student life at UBC.

“With respect to sustainability, I think it also helps students,” said Parr. “Sustainability is important for known reasons, [but] it also helps students feel comfortable and enhances their campus experience, and this building does that just that.”

Parr also noted the usage of renewable resources in the construction of the building, which is not only a sustainability initiative, but also a cheaper option than other materials.

“We used renewable resources ... during construction since it helps with the carbon dioxide emissions issue. This is all part of an overall growth plan which is meant to help local industry.”

John Metras, managing director of Infrastructure Development at UBC, agreed that not only will the building provide a new housing option for students, but is also promising in terms of sustainability and learning opportunities.

“The use of wood is what makes it sustainable,” said Metras. “[Since wood was used], we’re not only helping support the local wood economy in British Columbia. It’s also an opportunity for research purposes for students, faculty and staff. The goal of this project [for everyone] is to learn.”