CapU Acquires New Squamish Campus

The new campus will serve the Sea-to-Sky communities and open doors for classes in the fall of 2024

Kirsten Wiltshire (she/her) // Staff Writer
Sol Yoon (she/her) // Illustrator
A collection of modern buildings sits atop the highlands in Squamish, B.C. The buildings, the former Quest University campus, are delicately nestled in the temperate rainforest, surrounded by scenic coastal mountains. In August of 2023 Capilano University purchased the campus. The purchase, a total of $63.2 million, was partially funded by the Government of B.C., who made a $48 million contribution. 

This is not the first time CapU has made Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) home. In the early 2000s, CapU had a handful of business courses available in the district of Squamish. The university has been trying to find a home in Squamish for some time now. In March 2022 the university was in talks about a different location in the town but that didn’t work out. Luckily, or perhaps, rather well-timed, an already established campus appeared on the market. The purchase of this campus means CapU is finally setting down roots in the community. 

Wilson Williams (Sxwíxwtn), spokesperson for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) told the CapU Communications team, “We are pleased to support the return of in-person learning to the District of Squamish. The new campus will provide opportunities for our youth in Squamish to seek post-secondary education close to home.” 

The Sea-to-Sky corridor is home to School District 48, which includes Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton. This new campus will be an opportunity for local students to attend post-secondary in their own backyard, as the communities along the Sea-to-Sky area are growing at a faster rate than the average in B.C. CapU’s return to Squamish is in anticipation of a greater desire for post-secondary education opportunities closer to home that will be more accessible to those who desire to attend.   

The campus covers 18 acres of land and comes equipped with learning areas, a library, a cafeteria, a sports field, two parking lots and athletics facilities. It is already designed with hands-on learning in mind, making it a smooth transition for CapU. 

CapU president Paul Dangerfield said in a Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills press release, “We are grateful to the Province, the District of Squamish and the Squamish Nation for their support. We look forward to continuing to build a relationship with the community, the Squamish Nation and multiple partners to design and offer programs that match the education and skills-training needs of the community and region”. 

The university is planning to open for classes in Fall 2024, with registration in the spring prior. The first courses to come to Squamish will be early childhood education and literacy programming. From there, the university will expand into other programs such as the arts, business, and sciences. 

As the university continues to build a relationship with the community, the program offerings will expand to reflect that. There are plans for outdoor recreation and programming in conjunction with the Squamish and Lil͛wat Nations. Williams shared, “We look forward to continuing discussions with Capilano University about how to best serve our members and how we can help Indigenize the university’s programs”. 

In May of 2023 the Province of BC released their new $480 million education plan called StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan. One of their key goals for this plan is “making post-secondary education more affordable, accessible and relevant to British Columbians.” 

With the location of this new CapU campus and a strong desire to develop the education programs with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, Lil’wat Nation and settlers in the area alike, there is cause for hope and exciting opportunities to come.

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