Mt. Blakiston House, the latest addition to the U of L’s campus residence park, is officially open to receive students.
The $32-million, 11,589 sq.m. (124,743 sq.ft.) building adds 259 beds to the U of L’s residence inventory and increases the available on-campus living space by more than 60 per cent. Students, primarily in their second and third year, will fully occupy the building beginning Sept. 2.
“The University of Lethbridge is a destination of choice for students across the province, the country and beyond. Mt. Blakiston House will allow more students to have an immersive and exciting experience at the U of L,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon.
“With so many of our students coming to Lethbridge from rural Alberta, Calgary and beyond, being able to offer them accommodations on campus will help them succeed in their studies. Students who live in residence quickly find support networks on our campus and subsequently excel in their studies.”
Nearly 70 per cent of the U of L’s students are from outside of Lethbridge.
Gordon Jong, the U of L’s Board Chair, says the project was done with students in mind.
“This is more than an investment in infrastructure – it is an investment in our students. This building will increase the vibrancy of our campus and make it even more desirable for prospective students,” says Jong. “Our Facilities, Housing Services and Conference Services teams have put a lot of thought into how we can make the campus environment better for our students, and the end result of their hard work clearly shows in Mt. Blakiston House.”
In addition to a contemporary design living space, amenities include large study lounges, a games room and multi-purpose study/activity space. Outdoor social activities will centre around a quad-style green space and patio area.
The 24-hour secured building is also near a large park and lake and directly across a lane from the indoor and outdoor amenities of the Gordon W. Paterson Centre, which includes access to beach volleyball, basketball and other recreational activities.
Lethbridge-West MLA Greg Weadick says Mt. Blakiston House will benefit both the U of L as well as Lethbridge residents looking for affordable housing options.
"The Government of Alberta has recognized the importance of increasing the Province's supply of affordable housing. This new residence building will not only allow the U of L to attract bright young minds to its campus, but will also open up increased rental opportunities in the City of Lethbridge," says Weadick.
An additional feature of the Mt. Blakiston House project is that it was designed to operate as a combination hotel/conference centre during the summer months, providing space for conferences up to 250 delegates, and a unique option for visitors to Lethbridge as the only hotel accommodation in West Lethbridge. The building will bring the overall campus accommodation capacity for hosting large summer events to approximately 900 beds.
"The City of Lethbridge is proud to support an investment of $3.5 million (provincial funds allocated by the city) to this very worthy project," says Mayor Rajko Dodic. "It is gratifying to see that so many students are choosing the University of Lethbridge to further their education. Affording them the opportunity to live on campus in comfortable accommodations will, no doubt, help them feel more at home in our community."