Starting September 2017, students at Columbia Bible College will have a new option for affordable, on-campus housing. Twenty small tent platforms will be built along the edges of the sports field, with each platform renting at a rate of $300 per semester.
“We’re delighted to offer students this new budget-friendly option for accommodations,” says Columbia Bible College President Bryan Born. “It’s an innovative solution that addresses two realities – the fact that our residences are nearly at capacity, and rising rental costs in Abbotsford.”
The tent platforms were the brainchild of Jeremy Walker, Director of QUEST, a one-year discipleship program with a strong focus on outdoor adventure. “A favourite QUEST expedition has always been the backpacking trip to Elfin Lakes. Every year, students express how much they like the tent platforms they use on that hike,” explains Jeremy. “I wondered if we could create something similar on campus.”
Each tent platform will have room for a single small tent and comes equipped with a power outlet, allowing for the use of small lamps or electronic devices. Students will be expected to bring their own tents and bedding, and are urged to purchase a quality tent that will withstand West Coast winter rain. Washroom and shower facilities will be available twenty-fours per day at the school’s gymnasium facility, Columbia Place.
“We expect demand to be high,” predicts an enthusiastic Stan Bahnman, Dean of Students. “We’re sure that Outdoor Leadership and QUEST students will be the first to jump at this chance to live outside for the semester. It adds to the adventure of college.”
It was Stan Bahnman who approached the City of Abbotsford with a proposal for setting up tent accommodations on campus and negotiated approval for tents to be used on a trial basis for the 2017-2018 academic year. “We had to provide reassurances to city officials that we would abide by local by-laws.” This means Columbia’s tent-dwellers won’t be able to build campfires, though they will be allowed to use small cook stoves or grills if they choose. Noise rules, especially, will need to be heeded. Another concern is the visual esthetic of a semi-permanent campground on campus.
“It’s important that our tent community be tidy and visually appealing for our neighbours,” says Stan. “This is why we’re asking students to bring tents in colours that match our Columbia visual identity: navy blue, bright blue, and light grey. We want to make a positive impact in whatever we do within our community.”
Rental applications for the new tent platforms will be available online starting April 31. Those wanting more information about the new accommodations program should fill out the online info request form, here: www.columbiabc.edu/in-tents