Royal Roads University has purchased property at 798 Goldstream Ave., renewing hopes Langford could finally get its own university or college campus.
In a statement Tuesday, the school confirmed the purchase but wasn’t able to provide many details at this time.
“There are ongoing talks with Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria, Camosun College and the provincial government about future uses of the land, however, no plans have been finalized,” said the emailed statement.
The property, currently occupied by the Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, was rezoned as community town centre in 2018, allowing for mixed-use development.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said the purchase gives him confidence the community may finally be able to reverse a trend that sees fewer Langford high school graduates attend a post-secondary institution than the provincial average.
“We don’t have enough of our students going on to post-secondary education. If a university was in our city, you’d have more people going,” Young said. “It’s such a huge benefit to our community in many ways.”
Having a university or college campus in the city would also go a long way in helping to mitigate some traffic concerns in the community, as Young said approximately 4,000 Langford residents drive to other schools in Greater Victoria each day. With a campus right in the city centre, fewer vehicles would need to be on the road and fewer barriers would exist for high school graduates to continue their education.
Should the project come to fruition, Young said it would also provide an ideal place to build Langford’s long-discussed performing arts centre.
“When they build this university, Langford is paying to build a theatre attached to it,” said Young. “That’s pretty exciting for us … there are benefits to our community this will bring as well.”
In addition to paying for the construction of the theatre, Young said the city would also provide some of the parking space on the property. Currently, the city provides the existing church access to the nearby city-owned Danbrook parking lot as part of a deal that allows the general public to use the church’s lot during the day, Monday through Friday.
“Now we need to put a good case forward to the province, and I think there is a good case there. We’ve been working on this for 15 years and I am very excited Royal Roads has taken steps to bring UVic and Camosun together, and taken the step to purchase the property. It gives me a good feeling that we are moving in the right direction.”