Last month, it was announced that the University of British Columbia had purchased the on-campus Vancouver School of Theology’s 1927-built, stone-faced Iona Building for $28-million.
The School of Theology operates as an independent institution on land that was leased for 999 years from UBC in 1927. However, after a 87-year history on the site and at the stunning building, the School of Theology is no longer in need of the 99,663 square foot facility given its gradually growing part-time and distance-based student body.
The School of Theology approached UBC in 2012 to discuss the sale of the architectural treasure. “This building holds historic significance for our community. When approached by VST, we grasped immediately the unique value of this opportunity,” said Stephen Toope, president and vice chancellor of UBC.
“The arrangement also supports a theological institution that has been a valued academic neighbour for many years.”
The building is located at 6000 Iona Drive near UBC’s Faculty of Arts precinct. It boasts stunning views of Burrard Inlet and beyond, and includes two large modern conference rooms, four seminar rooms, offices, residential rooms, a chapel, and library.
It will be renovated and repurposed by UBC for solely institutional and academic purposes – it will house the university’s newly established UBC Vancouver School of Economics beginning in September 2015. UBC will take possession of the building in July 2014.
“This will generate great excitement for the Faculty of Arts, said Gave Averill, dean of UBC’s Faculty of Arts. “The magnificent Iona building is ideally suited for the UBC Vancouver School of Economics. It is a treasure that will provide an inspiring setting for our faculty and students.”
Meanwhile, the School of Theology plans to use the proceeds from the sale to maintain its presence on the UBC campus. Options include constructing a new building or repurposing Somerville House.