Huge Hostel on Logan Park

Huge Hostel on Logan Park

Polytech Hopes to House Own Students

The Otago Polytechnic has revealed plans to build a new 235-room hostel on land in Logan Park, subject to a sale of the land by the council.

The building will cost “approximately $20 million”, although funding for this project is “still under discussion” according to Otago Polytech’s Chief Executive Phil Ker.

Building will commence “within two to three months max”, providing the council sells the land to the polytech. If it does, the build should be finished by late 2017. Ker said that students would move in for the 2018 academic year.

The reason for the new building is to attract new domestic and international students to the polytech.

The Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association (OPSA) has not adopted a “formal position on” the issue, because it has not “been privy to enough information to make any sensible judgement”.

Recent changes to the allocation of seats on polytechnic councils across the country mean that the institution’s student president no longer sits on Otago Polytechnic’s executive council, which “leaves a huge gap of knowledge that we once had,” Mark Baxter, OPSA’s event manager, said.

Baxter went on to say there is “no specific Polytech hostel at the moment … [which] certainly shows a gap in the market”. The polytech does have rooms within City College, but that is “quite a distance from the campus, so this new build will help with that”. “We would certainly want to see the business case for it, and it would depend on the financial side of it too, particularly where the money is actually coming from.”

Ker added that it would also be great if it was a hostel “that is focused solely on Polytech, so you don’t have all the residents go on holiday and you’re the only three people left there.”

Rory McCourt, president of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), said they are “concerned about the cost of first-year halls in particular for students and their families”.

“We’d be keen to see that these halls are not $13,000+ per year for students, but more affordable and in line with what someone would pay in an average Dunedin flat. As a principle, these hostels should never be run for profit.”

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2015.
Posted 11:11am Sunday 16th August 2015 by Joe Higham.