Capilano University to build North Van Shipyards campus

Lower Lonsdale is going back to school.

Capilano University announced this week it would be setting up an 11,000-square-foot satellite campus in the City of North Vancouver’s Shipyards project in time for the fall semester.

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“We are the North Shore’s university. (The Shipyards) is one of the most exciting developments that’s underway on the North Shore. I thought we needed to be there to serve the community,” said Paul Dangerfield, CapU president. “For Cap, it’s almost like it’s going to be our gateway to the North Shore.”

The announcement comes as Quay Properties Management, the city’s partner developing the Shipyards, has inked deals for all of the remaining commercial space at the site, which is nearing completion.

Cap’s continuing studies and executive education programs will have a permanent home in the new campus, which the school is calling CapU Lonsdale, and all five of Cap’s faculties will have classes taught there. The space’s design is going to be open concept with an emphasis on flexibility – room for about six classrooms plus arts and cultural space.

“This is the next step in our evolution,” said Laureen Styles, vice-president academic and provost.

Styles said the administration has put special attention on the logistics of travel to and from CapU Lonsdale when deciding which classes to schedule there.

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Capilano University vice-president Toran Savjord and Shipyards business development co-ordinator Deborah Le Patourel meet inside CapU Lonsdale building, the school’s new satellite campus in the Shipyards. photo Mike Wakefield, North Shore News

From their seats, students will have a view of the public skating rink below in the winter months and water play area in the summer.

Dangerfield said he’d like to see the school’s jazz students performing at the Friday night market.

“It’s going to be this really dynamic space that reflects the rest of the Shipyards,” he said.

The Lonsdale campus should be buzzing from 8:30 a.m. right until evening classes let out, with possible weekend programming as well, Dangerfield predicted.

“To be honest, I anticipate within a year or two, we’re going to be so full, I’ll probably be looking for more space,” he said.

The long-term lease will cost the school about $800,000 per year but Dangerfield said Cap will be able to generate enough revenue from the site to cover the cost.

Establishing a presence for Capilano University at the foot of Lonsdale has been on the president’s to-do list since he took on the role in 2016 but the idea has been on table for much longer, Dangerfield said.

“Former mayor Darrell Mussatto and I spoke about this when I was the dean of business in 2006 or 2007,” he said. “It’s that proximity that really makes it exciting. It couldn’t get any better, really.”

In a release, current Mayor Linda Buchanan welcomed the school to the “ideal location.”

“They will be a wonderful addition to our growing waterfront community,” she said.

All of the commercial space in the Shipyards is now spoken for, according to Taylor Mathiesen, director of operations for Quay Property Management. The latest additions to the city-owned amenity: a second location for North Vancouver darling Welcome Parlour Ice Cream, Vancouver staples Caffe Artigiano, Lebanese cuisine Jamjar Canteen and boutique Main Street Honey Shoppe. Also joining are vegetarian grocer and deli Larry’s Market, a showroom and office for Heatseeker Sales, which markets products for boardsports apparel manufacturer Volcom, and The Wallace Venue, an 5,000-square-foot event space.

The list of tenants has been carefully curated, Mathiesen said. “We have had a pretty specific vision for what we wanted to create at the site and we’ve had a tonne of interest so we had to turn away quite a number of tenants that didn’t really quite fit the vision,” he said. “It was actually a lot of fun going through the process and soliciting.”

It was previously announced that Joey Restaurant would be opening a flagship location at the Shipyards, along with high-end Italian restaurant Nook, Method Indoor Cycling and a 70-room boutique hotel by Executive Hotels & Resorts.

At least seven of the commercial tenants will open in early June, Mathiesen said, with the rest due later in the summer. “We’re definitely very excited to have the project as a whole nearing completion for this summer and to see the last piece of the Shipyards area and the waterfront come to life,” he said.

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Workers install the cooling mechanism for the ice rink that will soon be open in the City of North Vancouver's Shipyards. photo Mike Wakefield, North Shore News

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