CapU plans to double its childcare capacity and expand its ECCE program with a new building
Matt Shipley (he/him) // Communities Editor
Capilano University (CapU) announced plans for a new Centre for Childhood Studies on Jan. 13, 2022, estimated to be completed September 2024. The brand-new building will be strategically located on the north end of campus in proximity to a transit hub, and to a large, forested play area. When completed, it will be Western Canada’s only degree-granting, purpose-designed, integrated Centre for Early Childhood Care, research and Lab School education.
The Centre will occupy a brand-new, LEED Gold-rated building — LEED being the most widely used building rating system in the world. The two-storey building is planned to provide a total 23,000 square feet of space. Pending approval, it will be the first new building on CapU’s main campus since the construction of the Nat & Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation in 2012.
In July 2020, the University received $2.96 million in funding from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund. Since then, $6.5 million has been contributed by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, as well as $4.14 million from the University itself. CapU has launched a capital campaign to raise the remaining $5 million needed for the project, an initiative that has already raised nearly $3 million from various donors, including a $2 million lead gift from CapU Chancellor Yuri Fulmer and his wife Alesia Fulmer.
The Centre will provide 74 new childcare spaces, which doubles CapU’s current on-campus capacity for toddlers and preschoolers. In addition, it will provide 20 new Early Childhood Education practicum placement spaces. This comes at a crucial time as, in the summer of 2021, Canada announced a landmark plan with the Province of British Columbia to create 30,000 new childcare spaces over the next five years in BC. This plan will require an additional 12,000 early childhood educators for its success, to which CapU’s new building will contribute a 25 per cent increase in admission to ECCE programs.
On Feb. 22, 2022, the Province of British Columbia issued a news release announcing a new initiative to invest in increased access to post-secondary education. Included in this initiative is the creation of more spaces for those interested in early childhood education, with a significant investment aimed at creating an additional 40,000 licensed childcare spaces provincewide. Word is yet to be released as to whether this includes the Government of Canada’s aforementioned joint project with the Province, or whether these spaces are in addition to the Government’s project.