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Otago To Increase Number Of Hall Beds For 2004

Otago To Increase Number Of Hall Beds For 2004

The University of Otago will add an extra 100 rooms through extending a Hall of Residence as part of efforts to address an accommodation shortfall resulting from its increasing attractiveness as a destination for university education, announced Vice-Chancellor Dr Graeme Fogelberg today.

The University Council yesterday approved a University working party recommendation to embark on a $6.6 million construction project at University College (Unicol) on Clyde Street in Dunedin. Work on two new four-storey 50-room blocks at Unicol is scheduled to begin in May, and the new accommodation will be ready for students to move into by the start of the 2004 academic year.

Dr Fogelberg says that "as the number of first-year students from outside the local area continues to grow, it is increasingly important to make sure that the University is able to provide more of the high-quality Hall accommodation which is a key element of the Otago experience".

"At Otago, our Halls have traditionally provided valuable opportunities for first-year students to 'find their feet', develop socially, and make new friends in a supportive and stable community. The supervision and support provided by Halls also provides an environment that maximises a student's academic success."

The working party had explored a number of immediate options for providing extra beds, and has settled on the Unicol project, rather than proposals such as converting some larger rooms into shared rooms, he says.

Ministry of Education forecasts show that the number of Year 13 students will continue to grow until at least 2008, and if Otago maintains its share of these students as expected, this will create a continuing demand for extra beds. An increase in overseas student numbers is also a factor, but Otago's target of international students not exceeding 10% of the University's roll means that this will not be a major pressure, he added.

Though the increase in the student roll will present challenges for future University planning, it is also "a welcome sign that Otago is continuing to set standards of excellence in tertiary education and quality of student lifestyle", he says.

"The booming popularity of Otago University and Dunedin as a destination for young people embarking on their tertiary studies is a testament to the superior quality of courses on offer and the welcoming, friendly atmosphere that the City and its people create for our students."

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