On the 10th of March, ANU announced a raft of changes to housing at ANU. These changes were first revealed to students at an early morning Burton and Garran Hall hosted forum.
These changes include allowing private firms to lease on-campus, ANU-owned accommodation. Furthermore, Bruce Hall is scheduled for redevelopment, a new hall will be opened and Fenner Hall will be moved to a new on-campus site.
In a press release obtained by Woroni, it was revealed that nine on-campus residences will be offered up to investors for 30-year leases. The residences in question are Burton and Garran, Ursula, and Toad Halls as well as Graduate House. Davey, Kinloch, Warrumbul & Lena Karmal Lodges and the under construction “SA5” building on Daley Road are also being offered to investors. The press release emphasised that this does not amount to a privatisation of accommodation, merely a leasing agreement.
As reported by The Australian a fortnight ago, private firm Flagstaff have been appointed as advisors for the process.
According to the release, investors “would also need to fund additional student accommodation as required, to help the University meet the strong demand for on-campus accommodation.”
The University will “maintain control of student operations and rent controls.” Rental increases will be maintained at or below 75% of market rates.
Student admissions, pastoral care, maintenance standards and student safety and security are also remaining in control of the University.
Bruce and Fenner Hall, which are excluded from current discussions with investors, have nevertheless been marked for changes.
Bruce Hall is planned to undergo a major redevelopment, including the development of the current site into two colleges, with the intention to reopen in 2018. This would entail a knockdown of the central part of Bruce Hall, with the Packard wing being kept. Bruce residents will be likely be relocated into “SA5” from the start of next year. Details will be revealed to residents in an upcoming forum.
Fenner Hall will be moved from its current off-campus location on Northborne Avenue into the new housing development “SA5” on Daley Road. Residents will be consulted on the change in the near future.
The cost of housing and the physical changes to the halls were among the main concerns of the packed student forum this morning.
These changes come in light of the shortage of student accommodation at the start of 2016, with changes made in residential services in 2014 to lower the amount of returning on-campus students. There will not be an increase of self-catered beds on campus until at least 2019.
According to Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, “improving and providing more student accommodation on campus is one of the University’s highest priorities.”
“We cannot meet demand for accommodation on campus at the moment, and we estimate more than 1,500 students who wanted to live on campus on campus in 2016 were not able to be accommodated.”
Woroni will have further information on all of these developments our next edition.