Higher learning in Lower Lonsdale?
Capilano University and the City of North Vancouver have begun “informal discussions” about establishing a post-secondary presence in Lower Lonsdale.
At a Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast last week, university president Kris Bulcroft revealed that the school — a North Shore institution since the late 1960s — has informally asked the city to be considered in any future developments near the base of Lonsdale Avenue.
“The dialogue is continuing,” Bulcroft told The Outlook. “But if development goes ahead in Lower Lonsdale we would very much like to be a part of it.”
Bulcroft said the school would like a central space in the city so they could expand programming. Cap U’s current campus in the Lynnmour area, she noted, is more or less at capacity.
“We’ve kind of reached our limits here, as far as our physical capacity goes,” said Bulcroft. “If we want to grow our programs, it seems more to make more sense to take our programs out into the community, rather than trying to shoehorn them in.”
Bulcroft speculated that a downtown campus could house anything from continuing education programs to executive training, music and performing arts programs, or art gallery space.
“There’s been lots of conversation, but it’s premature to think about what we might put there until we know whether or not it’s going to happen,” she said.
But, for what it’s worth, the city has been “extremely receptive” to the idea so far, Bulcroft noted.
Mayor Darrell Mussatto told The Outlook he is extremely excited about the possibility and thinks having a post-secondary campus in the city would greatly enhance the area.
“I think it would be a tremendous asset to the city to have a satellite location in Lower Lonsdale,” Mussatto said.
He noted that both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia have downtown campuses in Vancouver, and said the Foot of Lonsdale area lends itself perfectly to such a proposal.
“It’s a great spot for it. It’s the centre of our city, it’s a transit hub, and there’s already shops and services down there,” he said.
The satellite campus, he added, would be part of a much larger development either at the Foot of Lonsdale Ave. or at the site previously slated for the National Maritime Museum.
“The size of what they’re looking at could easily fit in there,” Mussatto said. “It’s all very preliminary, but we’re going to explore it because there’s benefits for both the university and the community.”