Find the latest updates and detailed information about Capilano University's plans to construct a new purpose-built facility to house a new child care centre, and academic teaching and learning spaces for the School of Education & Childhood Studies (ECCE).

Rendering of Centre for Childhood Studies
Artist rendering by HDR Architecture Associates, Inc. (December 2020)
Status: Proposed
Project location: North Vancouver
Budget: $18.6-million
Projected completion date: Summer 2023 (occupancy fall 2023)
Sustainability: Project will target LEED Gold and BC Energy Step Code 4
Student capacity: 20 more practicum placement spots for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) students; and 74 new additional childcare spaces

Project overview

Using a child-inspired approach, the Centre will create integrated research, teaching and learning areas alongside a new, innovative child care centre on CapU's main North Vancouver campus to expand the University's ECCE program, support a broad range of other CapU interdisciplinary research programs and increase child care spaces on campus. The guiding philosophy for the Centre builds on the approach of the existing Children's Centre on CapU's main campus, where educators learn from, and collaborate with, each other and children.

The new 25,000 square foot two-storey building adjacent to outdoor space and public transit will result in:

  • 20 more practicum placement spots for ECCE students;
  • 74 new additional child care spaces (24 infants and toddlers and 50 preschooler spaces), which will double the availability of on-campus child care for infants and preschoolers and create a total of 143 child care spaces on the main campus;
  • New purpose-built studio space, study labs, classrooms, faculty offices and student study areas for the ECCE programs; and
  • Expanded and consolidated space for ECCE, which is currently spread out over three different buildings on main campus.

Community benefits

This project responds to two key identified needs of the University community and residents of the North Shore:

  1. Increase number of child care spaces in North Vancouver
    Child care is linked to the social and economic development of our region. Limited child care options make it difficult for families to live, work and study on the North Shore, or realize their career goals. The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade highlights child care as an essential component of its 2020 Economic Recovery Plan for the region. Since 1973, CapU has operated a not-for-profit Children's Centre. Today, demand greatly exceeds the spaces available. In North Vancouver, the average estimated waitlist time for a child care space is 12 months. The present Children's Centre has 12 infant spaces, 12 toddler spaces and 45 spaces for children three to five years old. As of March 2020, there were more than 160 students, employees and North Shore community members waiting for a space at the CapU Children's Centre.
  2. Create new, purpose-built academic research space for School of Education & Childhood Studies
    CapU's School of Education & Childhood Studies is well regarded by peers across Canada, for its high quality research and the leadership it provides to the field of early childhood education. CapU is one of only four universities in Canada to offer a research-focused Bachelor degree in early childhood education. The CapU Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programs collaborate with the CapU Children's Centre, serving as extension and enhancement of the academic program for ECCE students. This collaboration fosters research that drives best practice and curriculum innovation. Approximately 250 students engage in CapU's ECCE programs annually, graduating as exceptional early childhood educators who advance to practice in a variety of child care settings. Many ECCE classes at CapU are waitlisted each year. There is a demonstrated need to grow the program as graduates are needed across British Columbia.

Frequently asked questions

The University is constructing a new purpose-built, child-centered facility.

The site identified is at the north end of CapU's main campus, where the University's Facilities building is currently located.

The estimated budget for the Centre is $18.6 million, to be funded through the University's investments as approved by the Board and donations as well as the $2.96 million from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.

The addition of a second child care centre on campus will improve access to affordable child care for both students and employees as well as help to mitigate the shortage of available, affordable child care on the North Shore. The academic spaces in the Centre will serve ECCE students and faculty by expanding program space and consolidating the ECCE program in one building rather than being spread over three buildings as it is currently is on the main campus.

Provided the necessary approvals are forthcoming, the building is scheduled to open in summer 2023 to be ready for occupancy for fall 2023.

The existing Childcare Centre is fully subscribed. It has a capacity of 69 spaces, including 12 infant, 12 toddler, and 45 preschool spaces. From January 1st, 2019 to March 2, 2020, 103 community waitlist applications were submitted. Of those, 59 were for care in 2019, which the Children's Centre was unable to provide.

Although many students and employees are currently working and learning remotely, the University is planning and building to meet the long-term needs of students. The existing child care centre has been open and serving families for most of the pandemic to date and we are developing plans for a time when students can return safely for increased activity on campus.

Campus life is a major part of the whole university experience and at CapU, childcare and early childhood learning and education are part of what unites us and strengthens our purpose and place on the North Shore. In the balance of challenges and opportunities, we see a way forward that will always involve bringing people of all ages together in community.

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