Kwantlen Polytechnic University president Alan Davis listens to comments after presenting the institution's Vision 2018 plan to White Rock council.

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Kwantlen plans to return to White Rock, as well as establish a presence in South Surrey.

The news was shared at White Rock City Hall last week, during the first public presentation of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s strategic plan, Vision 2018.

In addition to White Rock and Grandview Heights, plans for KPU include creating space in Sea Island, Delta and Surrey City Centre, university president Alan Davis said.

“We are intent with establishing a presence here,” Davis told city council, noting he’s already had conversations to that effect with Mayor Wayne Baldwin and White Rock resident Jim Pelt, KPU’s new executive director of continuing education.

Kwantlen hasn’t had space in White Rock since April 2007, when it left its year-old campus near Johnston Road and Russell Avenue  after pulling out of plans to lease 10,600 sq. ft. in Bosa Properties’ Miramar Village. Lack of enrolment was cited for the exit.

Kwantlen’s negotiations with Bosa were a subject of controversy, as they factored into a decision by council of the day to grant the developer’s request to add two more floors to its tallest tower.

One councillor at the time called Kwantlen’s decision an “embarrassment” for the city.

Last week, Coun. Louise Hutchinson touched on the past.

“We were really disappointed when it fell through with having a satellite campus in White Rock,” she said.

Hutchinson encouraged Davis, who took over as KPU president a year ago, to consider gearing any future campus in the city to TALK (Third-Age Learning at Kwantlen) programs and international students.

Davis noted that upon his arrival from New York – where he had been president at State University’s Empire State College – he received his first welcome in White Rock. At that time, Baldwin challenged him “to do something for White Rock,” he said.

Following Davis’s presentation, Baldwin said he is “looking forward to bigger and better things in the future.”

Other highlights of Vision 2018 that Davis named include goals of doubling KPU’s community engagement in five years; boosting student numbers by five per cent annually; ensuring every program includes “real world” learning; and articulating the university’s role in higher education.

In response to questions from council, Davis said the percentage of adult learners at KPU is “not as high as it should be”; that the university will likely never become a solely online institution; and that there is “a huge opportunity” for Kwantlen’s Cloverdale campus.

At the same time, investment in post-secondary education south of the Fraser is “still woefully short,” Davis said.

Davis plans to share KPU’s Vision 2018 with the Surrey Board of Trade Wednesday, during a luncheon at Eaglequest Golf Course (7778 152 St.). For information, visit www.businessinsurrey.com

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