NORTH ISLAND COLLEGE PHOTO Renovations underway at the new campus in Thunderbird Mall in Port Hardy.

North Island College moves into Thunderbird Mall

The new campus will officially open January 2018

North Island College’s Mount Waddington Regional Campus in Port Hardy is moving to the Thunderbird Mall.

NIC’s current campus is in the old mall on Trustee Road. The college began renovating its new 6,000 square foot campus this summer to bring NIC services and programs closer Port Hardy’s main service and shopping areas.

“All our faculty and staff is quite excited for the move – to be really central and easily accessed by our students,” said North Island College Campus Coordinator Caitlin Hartnett.

“The new space will be a bit smaller but more suitable for what we do,” Hartnett said, explaining “in the new place we have four classrooms and here we have more than that, but we are not always using it.”

The $1.1 million renovation will open in January 2018.

The NIC renovations will also transform the Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre’s space, as the two organizations will then be next door to each other.

Sacred Wolf has had to relocate to accommodate the renovations but will actually get a bigger space and new bathrooms once the renovations are completed.

“We’ve been really lucky sacred wolf has been so generous in terms of this move, they’ve relocated right now so these renovations can be done and they’ve been really helpful throughout,” said Hartnett.

The new site is more convenient to students commuting by bus from Port McNeill, Sointula and nearby communities. It is also closer to NIC’s community partners, such as the Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre, the North Island Employment Foundations Society and North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society.

The new facilities include four classrooms, a computer lab, and a multi-purpose room that doubles as a nursing lab. The new space will include a student lounge with wooden beams, cedar siding, and materials to emulate the aesthetic of a Kwakwaka’wakw Big House.

“We consulted internally with indigenous faculty and staff to reflect the local first nations culture here,” said Hartnett.

It will also include an interactive TV room to access university studies classes and students in Campbell River, the Comox Valley and Port Alberni, an open computer lab or study area, student and staff lunchrooms, offices and assessment areas.

“We are going to be much more visible – we communicate as best we can right now, but we are going to be more visible to capture student’s attention,” said Hartnett.

She explained the increased visibility is exciting because “everyone in our community is a potential student, whether it’s taking a short photography course with us, upgrading, or university studies.”

The renovations are funded through BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education, NIC and public donations. NIC’s existing campus will remain open during the renovations, with no interruption of classes or services.