New NIC campus improves access for students, community

Renovations to NIC’s new campus at the Thunderbird Mall are on schedule to open in January 2018. College classes continue at NIC’s existing location this fall.

NIC’s Mount Waddington regional campus is moving to the Thunderbird Mall to be more accessible to students and the community.

The college began renovating its new 6,000 square foot campus this summer to bring NIC services and programs closer to the community’s main service and shopping areas. The $1.1 million renovation will open in January 2018.

“NIC’s major renovation shows their commitment to the Mount Waddington Region,” said Port Hardy Councillor Pat Corbett-Labatt, who is also a Professor Emeritus at the college. “I look forward to the new and continuing programs the college will be offering.”

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.

“Students and community members can more easily drop in, register for a course, or talk to us about the programs and services they’d like to see in their community,” said Campus Coordinator Caitlin Hartnett.

As a part of the funding, renovations will also be made to the adjacent Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre to include additional space and wheelchair accessible washrooms.

“We’ve been working with the Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre to deliver programs and events off campus for a number of years,” said Hartnett. “We are very thankful for their generous support and patience during the renovations.”

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

The main contractor on site is Island West Coast Developments, out of Nanaimo, with additional tradespeople from the Mount Waddington Region, Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

“We’ve hired local contractors as much as possible, throughout the project,” said NIC’s Director of Facilities Management David Graham.

The renovations are funded through BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education, NIC and public donations. They are expected to be complete in the late fall, with the first classes in the new building to begin in January 2018.

NIC’s existing campus will remain open during the renovations, with no interruption of classes or services.

Programs and courses starting this fall include a part-time Early Childhood Care and Education certificate program and an innovative Awi’nakola Land Based Upgrading program, which combines weekly outdoor classes on the land with Kwak’wala, English and Math upgrading. In addition, NIC will continue to support Education Assistant students in their practicums and offer drop-in upgrading classes for students at Sacred Wolf and its current campus. For more information, or to register, call 250-949-7912, or visit

Media Contact
Christiana Wiens
Media Liaison, North Island College
O. 250-334-5280 | M. 250-218-4097

Media Contact
Elizabeth Young
Media Liaison, North Island College
O: 250-334-5233 | C: 250-207-6946