The University of Canterbury (UC) announced today it plans to take some pressure off the Christchurch housing market by building accommodation for students in partnership with the private sector.Construction is expected to start next year on a new 240 bed hall of residence, to be completed in time for the 2015 intake.…“We will be talking to neighbours and interested parties about the project as it advances and, to help Christchurch, we are keen to provide more accommodation in future on the Dovedale campus as the University continues to contribute to the rebuild.“Other temporary and medium term accommodation projects are also being progressed on and off campus.“We have already spent $180 million in our campus remediation and we expect to spend $1.1 billion revamping our campus over the next 10 years.’’Dr Carr said as student numbers were likely to rise to pre-quake levels by 2017, there was an urgent need to take positive action in the best interest of the city.UC is also looking into short term housing options for up to 72 students on Ilam Fields for the 2014 academic year.All accommodation developments will be undertaken within Christchurch City Council planning requirements. The University already provides 1949 halls of residence beds. Applications for 2014 are higher than in recent years.…“An extra 140 beds have already become available in the halls for next year after the relocation of the College of Business and Law back to the remediated School of Law building. However, applications to enrol from new to UC international students have increased by over 600 or nearly 50 percent compared to this time last year and applications from out of town new to UC students have also increased,’’ Dr Carr said.
A big part of the University’s current financial distress has been due to housing availability. Construction workers and displaced families outbid students for flats, so students head elsewhere.
I wonder if anybody here has done a full accounting of the costs of the decision to temporarily turn some of the student apartments into staff offices; I’d expect every one of those converted flats represented a lost first year student, with continuing effects for the next two years. The Economics Department here, being a rather collegial bunch, decided to stay in the open plan temporary barracks-style offices here on Kirkwood Oval. We move to the remediated and repurposed law building next week.
I look forward to again having an office and space for all the books that have been in temporary storage since 2011. I also look forward to the University’s being able to accommodate a robust student intake.