A group of Elders, students, faculty and staff cut a ribbon in the new Wilna Thomas gathering hall

Renewed Wilna Thomas building improves campus life for Camosun students

With the reopening of the renovated Wilna Thomas building at Camosun College's Lansdowne campus, students have access to new spaces for study, collaboration, events and Indigenous learning.

People are seated in the new celebration hall during the official opening ceremony

Camosun College

The gathering hall in the newly renovated Wilna Thomas building.

"This project is a fantastic example of the value of revitalizing a building to suit the evolving needs of students," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. "The Wilna Thomas building is at the heart of Camosun College's Lansdowne campus and provides spaces to relax, collaborate and learn all of which are a vital part of the educational experience. This project aligns with our Future Ready work to help students attain the skills and knowledge they need to get in-demand, good-paying jobs."

The Province invested $9.3 million into the renovation project. Camosun students, staff and faculty have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including a 150-person gathering hall with an attached patio, quiet reflection space and breakout rooms, a new café, Indigenous learning space, and an Idea Lab for innovation and collaboration with other students. It also includes five upgraded classrooms, as well as upgraded washrooms, technology, and heating and cooling systems.

"We know investing in new and renovated facilities delivers the best educational experience to post-secondary students and keeps them competitive in the 21st century," said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. "This project greatly improves students quality of education through access to resources that provide students flexibility in the way they learn."

The Wilna Thomas building, named in memory of a college instructor, social worker and donor, originally opened in 1996. For more than 25 years, the facility has served as a learning centre for health and human services and adult basic education students, as well as a gathering place for Indigenous, cultural and college-wide events.

"The updates to the Wilna Thomas building align with the longer-term vision of the college by creating flexible spaces that support collaboration, including a hall for multi-purpose use," said Lane Trotter, president, Camosun College. "We are grateful that capital funding provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has supported this vision becoming a reality that benefits the college community."

The Wilna Thomas building is unique because it is not dedicated to one school or department. All Camosun students, staff and faculty will benefit and have access to it.

"Students need a purpose-built place where they can go to study, collaborate and just hang out without worrying about disturbing other people," said Jessie Niikoi, external executive, Camosun College Student Society. "The renovations to the Wilna Thomas building bring a lot of very cool and exciting features to the Lansdowne campus that will help students come together and collaborate."

Investing in upgraded post-secondary facilities is part of StrongerBC's Future Ready Plan. Future Ready is making education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.



Contact information

Katie McGroarty

Communications and Marketing

Camosun College