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Students’ beds secure after Uni plan to deliver 300 new places for 2019

Published 21 Dec 2018
Students’ beds secure after Uni plan to deliver 300 new places for 2019

The University of Tasmania will add more than 300 student beds ahead of Semester 1 next year.

The development means current residents can head into Christmas knowing they have an accommodation place if they want one.

Work is underway on four projects with a view to having beds available by Semester 1 2019, which will allow the University to relieve the stress and uncertainty for students as they head into Christmas.

The projects include:

  • the acquisition of a new inner-city property, which will provide 99 beds;
  • work to create a further 21 beds at the MidCity Apartments;
  • renovations at the Theatre Royal Hotel, which will add 16 new beds;
  • expanding the existing operation at College Road in Sandy Bay to deliver a further 180 beds.

University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said the shortage of accommodation in Hobart was a distressing issue for students.

“We have been working around the clock to address this and we have found a solution that means any student in our residences who wants to stay next year can stay,” Professor Black said.

“Insecurity about where you might live is incredibly unsettling. We absolutely understand how challenging this housing situation is and how fundamental it is to people’s wellbeing.

“We are delighted before Christmas to be able to offer accommodation to our students and to have these 300 new spaces to ease pressure as we head towards Semester 1 next year.”

Growing the College Road precinct, which includes John Fisher and Christ colleges as well as the University Apartments, will have a significant impact on addressing student accommodation demand.

The University is lodging a development application with the Hobart City Council that will enable the expansion of this precinct using quality, pre-fabricated accommodation.

“This is possible because of the commitment, flexibility and compassion of Tasmanian companies, including Morrison and Breytenbach Architects and Fairbrother, who are helping us to design and build the expanded college village,” Professor Black said.

“The new accommodation will link in with our existing facilities on College Road to create a vibrant student village with access to student support services, social spaces and catering.

“This is an exciting opportunity to create something quite special for our students with art-filled community areas and innovative living spaces similar to successful student accommodation projects in cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin.”

These temporary, quality prefabricated buildings will help manage student demand until the new 430-bed accommodation facility opens ready for Semester 1, 2021.

The University is also continuing to build on efforts to attract more students to Launceston with new course offerings through the Northern Transformation and an expansion of accommodation and tuition packages.

Professor Black said the University was committed to doing its part to help the Tasmanian community address the issue of housing availability.

“Three years ago, we were able to offer fewer than 500 student beds in southern Tasmania - today we are well on our way to tripling the size of that accommodation pool,” he said.

“We have a wonderful place here in Tasmania. Together we can meet the challenges we face in providing our community with somewhere to live and learn and grow.”

Image caption: The Inveresk student apartments in Launceston are an example of how modular units can form modern, inviting spaces. The proposed expansion at College Road includes a similar configuration of buildings, though only two-storeys, with courtyards and art spaces between them.