Fenner Hall will relocate to the ANU’s Union Court precinct in 2019, despite protests from current Fenner residents. The revitalised Hall will be located next to Sullivans Creek and new teaching spaces and a cultural and events centre.
The president of the Fenner Residents Committee, Victoria Xia, told The Canberra Times this month that it was a ‘compromise’, but would preserve the Hall’s unique culture by continuing to remain separate from the residential precinct of Daley Road.
‘I think a core part of Fenner’s identity will still be the fact we’re not on Daley Road and we are a self-catered college, but as for other aspects, our current line that we’re off campus, that we’re so close to Dickson and Lonsdale Street, these are things we’re going to have to work on once we move,’ Xia said.
‘I think it’s disappointing that Fenner has to move on to campus, but hopefully this will be a new chapter in Fenner’s future and the community can continue to thrive in its new location in a few years,’ she told the Times.
Fenner Hall is recognised as being one of the most affordable colleges at the ANU, with many students at the Hall coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The 2016 Fenner Residents Committee president, Sean Ding, told the Times that there was a possibility of a $50 fee increase when residents were moved to the new building, observing that this may not be feasible for some residents.
‘They [residents] are often self-supported, they work part-time jobs, I know a lot of people who work more than one [job], and a lot of them are on Centrelink,’ he said.
Fenner residents have been strongly apprehensive to be moved onto the ANU campus, believing that the proposed move to Union Court will impact the cohesive nature of their community.
Fenner Hall residents have told Woroni that they are concerned about moving to the ANU campus and the change of management this will bring.
First year resident Lauren Kightly voiced fears in regards to the future change of management. ‘I would not mind being on campus. I’m not really attached to the Hall itself, just the community. I would be concerned if UniLodge is running it. I love not having to pay for laundry,’ she said.
Second year resident Freya Wrigley expressed concern in regards to the capacity to retain the identity of Fenner if it was moved on campus. ‘I have really enjoyed the community of Fenner and can clearly see that its core culture is strangely tied with its location. The move will definitely impact the culture but I don’t think it has to be negative,’ she said.
‘It will definitely be a challenge, but one we can take, with good leadership and support from our admin. The design of the new Fenner, I think, will be very important, particularly in building the new culture. I have heard that a lot of people really dislike the layout of the new Bruce and we really don’t want that,’ Wrigley said.