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Early alumni will remember Victoria House when it was known as Edgar’s House (1974-76) or Albert’s House (1976-78) when residences were named for the Houseparents.

By Theron Shaw, Campaign Director

It has often been said that the student residences are the most important classrooms at Pearson College UWC…and for good reason.

Ask a student about their most challenging and life-changing aspect of the Pearson experience, and time and again, it will be learning to bridge their cultural differences as they live together – four students from four continents, sharing a room.

In many respects, the living environment is just as important as the learning environment. That’s why, over the past few years, we have worked hard with alumni, parents and the broader community of Pearson supporters to raise the funds necessary to support extensive renovations and modernization of Calgary, Japan, McLaughlin and East Houses.

Thanks to the support of a few generous donors, new energy-efficient windows and a long-life roof were installed in Victoria House last summer. This work was critical to getting through another wet West Coast winter and allowed us the opportunity to raise the remaining funds to complete a full renovation of Vic House — the fifth and final student residence to be fully modernized – this summer.

Bringing every student house up to modern safety and comfort level is a huge milestone for the College. That is why our highest campus renewal priority right now is securing the gifts and pledges that will enable us to move forward with renovating Vic House this summer.

Completely refurbishing Vic House is part of our multi-year Renew and Re-found Campaign, a $40 million initiative to support the scholarships, innovation and campus renewal that will position the College to serve future generations of Pearson students. To date, we have secured over $23.5 million towards our ultimate campaign goal from alumni, supporters and institutions who share our passion for “education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”

Enhancing Student Safety and Wellbeing

After nearly 50 years of service, Vic House is showing its age and is in urgent need of safety upgrades, energy efficiency improvements and an overall renovation. This residence still has the original wiring and aging baseboard heaters installed in 1974 – both areas that need to be upgraded to meet modern safety and comfort standards. The house will also receive a much-needed modern fire suppression system, as well as engineer-certified seismic upgrades, a necessity in light of our location in the Cascadia subduction zone.

To further improve energy efficiency and comfort, Vic House will receive new insulation, soundproofing, upgraded interior lighting and a centralized heat pump to further minimize the building’s environmental footprint.


Photo: Renovated McLaughlin House Dayroom

Future Vic House resident will also benefit from an expanded Day Room, where students can gather to socialize and study, and will be able to enjoy new durable, solid-wood and soft furnishings and updated flooring designed to stand up to the demands of energetic young people! As any alumni will remember, the Day Room plays a significant role in the lives of all House residents. It truly is “the heart of the home” and the backdrop to the forging of lifelong friendships and mutual respect.

Two four-bed student rooms will be expanded to accommodate an additional bed, increasing the total capacity of Vic House from 40 to 42 students. Shared washroom facilities will also receive much needed upgrades to fit, finishings and layout, and a gender-inclusive washroom will be added.

All building renovations and work on campus grounds are designed to enhance the wellbeing, safety and comfort of students and others on campus. The work will be done in a way that respects sustainable practices, the environment in which our buildings are situated and Pearson’s unique history and philosophy.

Project Status and Timeline

Vic House is scheduled to be fully renovated in the summer of 2021 at a total cost of $1.5 million CAD.  Since students return to campus in late August, there is a maximum of 12 weeks to complete the work between the time when the current 20-21 cohort leaves for home and the 21-22 cohort arrives.

To date, we have raised more than 70 per cent of the overall target through the generosity of several major donors, with $440,000 left to raise.

If you would like to support this project and help ensure that it moves forward next summer, thank you very much! I would be happy to answer any questions. Please contact me, Theron Shaw (YR 16/1991, USA), Campaign Director, at tshaw@pearsoncollege.ca.