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Cape Breton University to build new on-campus residence


Cape Breton University announced on Thursday it will build a new on-campus residence for students.

The university says the decision for a three-level 12-unit building was made based on the needs of, and feedback from students for convenience and flexibility with living on campus.

“It's all apartment style. We've heard from students more than once and the only thing they have interest in are units with self-sustained kitchens, so they can cook by themselves and that's what we're building,” said Doug Connors, director of Housing at Cape Breton University.

Connors says it's a cheaper option than accommodations with a meal plan, but it’s only a small step when it comes to addressing the student housing crisis.

“So anytime we can add new housing stock to the community, we're hoping that creates a domino effect, we will have more students coming on campus, which will open up other units downtown as well,” said Connors.

A W5 investigation in 2022, addressing housing concerns for the CBU's international students, grabbed national headlines.

The student union says they are working to find and address current issues.

“I just recently posted an online survey, so the number one issues we got from the student body was transportation, jobs and housing,” said Sahilpreet Singh Chatha, CBU Students Union president.

Singh says steps have been taken to address all three issues, but wonders if there will ever be enough housing to accommodate all students.

“You can make so many buildings and that will never be enough if the population keeps coming in. I hope, if this is a start, I hope we see bigger projects after that too,” he said.

CBU has also recently invested $1.4 million into the MacDonald Residence, adding 112 beds and creating dorm rooms with communal kitchens, based on feedback from students.

“The university has to be very measured and strategic in their expansion, so this is the first step for sure,” said Connors

More than 7,000 students were enrolled at CBU last year, with international students making up 70 per cent of the population.

The University says the goal is to have the new on-campus residence built by early 2025.

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