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UC stepping up its campaign to create more accommodation

UC stepping up its campaign to create more accommodation for increasing student numbers

December 17, 2013

The University of Canterbury (UC) is stepping up its campaign to meet the high demand for accessible, affordable student accommodation as work begins on the university’s Ilam Fields to house 60 students from early next year.

To help its students and to relieve pressure on the city rental accommodation market, the university is developing 15 four bedroom temporary buildings to meet urgent housing needs.

Work on the 15 houses on Waimairi Rd has begun but they are only a temporary fix, with approval being sought for up to three years.

Construction work is expected to be completed before the new semester starts in 2014.

The move to provide accommodation for UC students comes on the heels of news last week that UC will start work in the new year on a 250 bed hall of residence, to be completed in time for the 2015 intake.

UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says the university is 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. But we are taking positive and proactive action, in the city and students’ best interests.

``We are sensitive to the city’s housing situation and we see both proposals as constructive and exciting for the Christchurch economy, for the university and for prospective students.

``We will continue to talk to neighbours and interested parties in the area about the projects as they advance and, to help Christchurch, we are keen to provide more accommodation on the Dovedale campus in future as the University continues to contribute to the rebuild.

``Other temporary and medium term accommodation projects are also being progressed on and off campus.’’

Dr Carr says as student numbers were likely to rise to pre-quake levels by 2017, there was an urgent need to take positive action. As at December 14, applications to enrol from new and returning students were nearly 900 more than at this time last year.

``Many of these students are not resident in Christchurch and while not all those who apply to enrol will turn up at the start of the year, we are seeking to make accommodation offers to as many prospective students as possible. The university already provides 1949 beds in UC’s halls of residence.’’

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.

ENDS

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