February 18, 2016
Terrace, BC – Northwest Community College (NWCC) announced yesterday that it will undertake more consultation prior to making a decision regarding the future use of the Waap Galts’ap (Community House) on the Terrace campus.
At a regular meeting with the First Nations Council members, NWCC indicated that after nearly a year of looking at various options to increase usage of the iconic building, one potential idea has emerged. The idea would be to blend library and some student services with the more traditional functions of Waap Galts’ap. This would be done to create a welcoming space for students to gather as a learning community. First Nations Council acknowledged the importance of supporting students and also indicated they would encourage more consultation.
“The biggest users of this campus are the students,” said Xbisuunt (Vera Dudoward), Laxgibuu Matriarch, Kitsumkalum, Tsimshian Nation. “It’s important to think about how we can use this facility for their benefit.” Xbisuunt was instrumental in the creation of the building and has continued to provide input to this process in consultation with her brother Smoighet Wudi Wyi. A process will soon commence to get feedback from all First Nations Council members.
When it opened in 2010, the vision for Waap Galts’ap was that it be a gathering place for all students and a venue for community events. The consultations will take place to ensure that original mandate is retained in the future plans.
“We keep learning things as we talk to people and that is an important part of the process,” said NWCC President and CEO Ken Burt. “Through collaboration a solution will emerge that aligns with both the student-centred focus of the college and our respect for the original vision for Waap Galts’ap.”
Burt added that the proposed new ideas for using this space will not alter the existing structure. The intention is to maintain the talking circle at the centre of the building, continue to support community events in this space, add bookshelves and group study furnishings, modify a second- floor office to become a lounge where Elders can meet with students, and continue to celebrate the traditional architecture that makes this building so iconic.
After consulting with First Nations Council regarding the future use of this space, internal consultations with staff, instructors and students will take place to see that it also meets their needs. Once the internal consultations are completed, the college will modify plans and concepts before continuing with an external consultation process and open house.
Heather Bastin, Director, Communications and Public Relations
Northwest Community College
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