Abbey College expansion accommodates more post-grads

Dr Charles edges closer to Duke's $550,000 residence

Accommodation for postgraduate students is set to increase after the University purchased a property neighbouring Abbey College in order to increase the College’s capacity. 55 Duke Street backs on to the College and was purchased by the University for $550,000 to be used as housing for College Head Dr Charles Tustin.

Founded in 2008, Abbey College is home to 75 postgraduate students, but the Duke Street property will see additional rooms added to the College. Renovation plans include installing eight new student bedrooms within the College once Dr Tustin moves into his new residence, with the rooms likely to be completed by the end of the year.

The expansion of Abbey College comes in the wake of various other construction projects on Dunedin’s halls of residence. One of the most notable was the opening of the new Te Rangi Hiroa College, which boasts 127 new rooms complete with ensuite bathrooms. The building was formerly known as Living Space Hotel and Apartments and was purchased by the University in 2013, opening as a residential hall at the start of this year.

Other recent University renovations include an additional floor built onto Selwyn College’s Castle Street-facing building, 80 new bedrooms built at Knox and Salmond, and the renovation of new common areas and terraces at Toroa. In total, the University has added more than 200 new rooms for students in the last two years.

Director of Accommodation Services James Lindsay believes the construction on the halls is vital if the University wants to continue to attract students both nationwide and internationally. “Otago is known throughout the country for its outstanding campus experience for students. The colleges are integral to this.” Lindsay hopes the addition of 55 Duke Street to University property is one that will benefit students directly. “The [investment] is testament to our commitment to providing students with quality accommodation and services.”

The property purchase will join the University’s non-rateable assets in Dunedin, worth $632.27 million: 3.1 per cent of the city’s total, according to figures available from last year as published in the ODT. Chief Operating Officer John Patrick indicated to the ODT the cost of the alterations is still unknown, as planning and design are yet to be completed.

Abbey College, New Zealand’s first purpose-built residence for postgraduate students, houses people from 27 different countries, with these international students making up 70 per cent of its total residents.
This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2014.
Posted 3:11pm Sunday 11th May 2014 by Emily Draper.