UBC Okanagan students will soon have more places to study following the expansion of the campus library.

A new $35-million teaching and learning centre, funded by the federal and provincial governments and UBC Okanagan students, is scheduled to open in April 2018.

It will be an extension of

the current library, connected

by a walkway.

For several years, students have been struggling to find places to study, said Blake Edwards, president of the UBC Okanagan Students Union.

“If you wander through (the library) any time during the day, it is packed,” he said. “It’s really hard to find any available seating in there.”

The new building will be double the size of the current library, and will have more than double the study spaces, because there will be no books inside.

Two years ago, the students’ union held a referendum, asking students if they supported paying for a new learning centre.

“Students overwhelmingly supported it,” said Edwards.

As a result, every student pays $70 a year toward the new building.

“Over 10 years, with the progression of our campus, and the increase in students that come to our campus, it should work out to about $10 million contribution to the library,” said Edwards.

There is currently only one study space in the library for every 12 students on campus, said Heather Berringer, chief librarian at UBC Okanagan.

“The idea that the students mobilized themselves, chose this as a priority project and then voted to levy themselves to build a new building is not very common at all,” said Berringer.

“They see that it’s an incredible priority to create the spaces they need to learn, and they were willing to participate in actively making that happen.”

The new three-storey building will also house a 400-seat lecture theatre and meeting rooms for study groups and campus clubs.

More than $5 million in funding was also announced for environmental sustainability projects, which will focus on upgrades to UBC Okanagan buildings.

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