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UC to take pressure off the Christchurch housing market

UC to take pressure off the Christchurch housing market by building new accommodation for students

December 10, 2013

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.

UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr said the University was taking a positive approach and instead of contributing to the tight rental housing market in the city, it wanted to add to the housing stock, as student numbers grow back to pre-quake levels.

``Student accommodation could be seen as a restraint on the recovery of the University and education’s ability to contribute to the city’s recovery.

``We are sensitive to the housing situation in Christchurch and we see this proposed new 240-bed hall of residence project on the Dovedale campus as positive and exciting for Christchurch, for the University and for prospective students.

``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.

UC is the third largest employer in Christchurch and contributes $1.5 billion to the economy annually. Student accommodation is needed to attract a growing number of domestic and international students and UC wants to play its part in helping solve the city’s accommodation issues.

``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.

ends

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