As you all know, a matter very close to my heart is that of being able to provide accommodation on campus for ANU students who wish to live here.
Unfortunately, the demand for accommodation on campus is more than we are able to provide -- we estimate that more than 1,500 students who wanted to live on campus in 2016 were not able to be accommodated.
Another issue facing us is that much of our existing accommodation is getting pretty old now and is in constant need of expensive repairs.
The University has taken out large debts to develop new accommodation and maintain ageing buildings. However, we do not currently have the resources available to modernise or replace old accommodation blocks and build housing quickly enough to meet demand.
This has placed us in the position where we need to look very hard at our options.
ANU is exploring interest in outside investment to help fund the improvement and expansion of student accommodation and student facilities at the university.
We have undertaken consultations around the University and particularly in the residential colleges. Students have told us what is important to them, and we are exploring outside interest with these concerns front of mind.
The feedback we have received from students and residential alumni tells us that pastoral care, the unique culture of each residence, safety and security, cost and standard of accommodation are all critical and need to be guaranteed in any change.
The model the university is testing provides outside investors with access to a 30-year financial concession (a kind of lease) but leaves the operation and control of student accommodation with the University. The University will not be privatising its student accommodation, and we will retain the day to day management of accommodation and student allocations through this process.
We have decided that the bulk of any additional funds raised through this process should be targeted at improving other services and facilities to students.
At this stage, there are nine residences included in discussions with potential investors-the new building at SA5 (currently under construction) plus Burton & Garran Hall, Graduate House, Toad Hall, Ursula Hall, Davey Lodge, Lena Karmel Lodge, Kinloch Lodge and Warrumbul Lodge.
We have excluded Bruce and Fenner Halls from the current round testing with investors. The University is exploring a separate opportunity to design and build a new Bruce Hall, intended to open in 2018. Fenner Hall, which is off the main campus, will be relocated to the new SA5 accommodation development at the start of 2018.
Our intent in testing this approach is to maintain, and where we can, improve the student experience, including pastoral care, for every ANU student.
I will keep you informed of developments and look forward to hearing your views.
Frequently asked questions
Changes to Student Accommodation
What are the key proposals in the new ANU student accommodation plan?
ANU is exploring interest in outside investment to help fund the improvement and expansion of student accommodation and student facilities at the university to help meet current and future demand.
The model the University is testing provides outside investors with access to a 30-year financial concession (a kind of lease) but leaves the operation and control of student accommodation with the University. The University will not be privatising its student accommodation.
There are nine residences being included in discussions with potential investors: The new building at SA5 (currently under construction) plus Burton & Garran Hall, Graduate House, Toad Hall, Ursula Hall, Davey Lodge, Lena Karmel Lodge, Kinloch Lodge and Warrumbul Lodge.
The University is exploring a separate opportunity to design and build a new Bruce Hall and intends to relocate Fenner Hall to the main campus in 2018.
Why does ANU need to seek outside investors?
ANU cannot afford to build enough new buildings to meet the demand for accommodation on campus. We estimate more than 1500 students who wanted to live on campus in 2016 were not able to be housed.
Many ANU students, staff and alumni agree that the ANU residential experience should be expanded to as many students as possible so we need to build more accommodation.
The University has already taken out large debts to develop new accommodation like SA5 and maintain ageing buildings. ANU does not currently have the resources available to modernise or replace old accommodation blocks or build housing quick enough to resolve the accommodation shortfall.
Too many of our financial resources are tied up in the existing student accommodation at the expense of other facilities for students and improved housing on campus.
What will ANU do with the money that is raised?
The major priority for the bulk of any additional funds raised through this process will be targeted at improving other services and facilities to students across the University.
How will current students be affected?
If through this process the University identifies a suitable investor or investors, any agreement would ensure that the impact will be beneficial to all students.
New arrangements will ensure:
- Student allocation to residences will continue to be controlled and administered by ANU,
- Day-to-day management will remain under the direction of the ANU,
- ANU will continue to provide all pastoral care and control matters of student safety and security,
- The University will continue to be responsible for the provision of IT access and infrastructure.
How will students from Bruce Hall be affected?
In 2017, the new accommodation SA5, will open. All students from Bruce Hall seeking to return in 2017 will be temporarily accommodated in SA5 in 2017. Provision will also be made for students who wish to continue to have fully-catered meals.
During that year, the original Bruce Hall will be replaced with a new residential building. ANU will work closely with the architects of the new building to incorporate many design elements of the old Bruce Hall into the new building. The Packard Wing will be not be affected.
To maintain the cultural continuity of Bruce Hall, there would also be an intake of first year students to Bruce Hall (in SA5) in 2017.
In 2018, a new Bruce Hall will be opened. All former Bruce Hall residents residing in SA5 will be invited to move into the new building.
How will students from Fenner Hall be affected?
In 2018, ANU intends to relocate students from Fenner hall on to the main campus. Students who lived in Fenner Hall in 2017 will be invited to move to the SA5 accommodation space in 2018.
Why can't ANU keep or upgrade the accommodation at Fenner Hall?
The accommodation at Fenner Hall was originally built in the 1960s to house Canberra's young single public servants. Like many buildings of this age, Fenner Hall and its facilities are in need of significant and costly repair and maintenance to bring them up to a modern and functional standard.
Fenner Hall sits on land owned by the Commonwealth Government and is leased by ANU on a short term lease basis. There is no certainty that the University will continue being leased the land in the future. The construction of the ACT light rail along Northbourne Avenue increases the level of uncertainty.
The ANU campus lease is held in perpetuity by the University. If a new student accommodation building is to be constructed, it makes sense to build it on campus.
How will ANU ensure the costs of the new accommodation remain affordable?
Affordability of accommodation for students is critical. The University has guaranteed that increases in room rental charges will be limited to CPI, maintained at or below 75 per cent of market rates and subject to five yearly reviews where tariffs will be benchmarked to market rates.
The University is currently working on a needs-based solution that will assist students currently living in low cost accommodation meet any increased costs.
What level of pastoral care will ANU provide in the new accommodation (SA5)?
Quality pastoral care is an important component of the residential hall experience and the University is committed to ensuring it is retained and supported throughout any changes. The new residential halls will have extensive pastoral care arrangements put in place to help provide students with guidance and support. The new facilities will maintain the roles of Community Coordinators and Senior Residents to help care for student well-being and deal with problems confidentially.
The ratio of Senior Residents and the pastoral care elements will be based on the existing Fenner Hall model.
How does ANU propose to keep the unique cultures of each college alive?
ANU is aware that many students feel a strong connection to their residence and feel strongly about their residential community.
The University is committed to fostering and maintaining the unique cultures, traditions and communities that set each college apart. A range of measures have been put in place to assist in this area including:
- All new residential halls will have extensive pastoral care arrangements put in place to help provide students with guidance and support,
- The new facilities will maintain the roles of Community Coordinators and Senior Residents to help care for student well-being and deal with problems confidentially,
- Large communal areas and shared cooking facilities will be provided to help bring students together and foster a sense of community,
- If students are required to move to new premises, the University will work hard to minimise the impact of the move and keep existing communities together,
- Where a building is earmarked to be rebuilt, the University will incorporate design elements of the old building to ensure a continuation of traditions and sense of space.
Are these changes definite?
These are the University's ideas for improving student accommodation but there are many issues to be resolved before a final decision can be made. The input of our various communities is a vital part of the process and we welcome your comments and feedback.
On 10 March 2016, the Vice-Chancellor updated the University community about a wide range of measures being considered to substantially increase and improve student accommodation at ANU. A series of student forums were held where the Vice-Chancellor outlined the key components of these proposals.
One of the measures proposed by the Vice-Chancellor was the possibility of redeveloping Bruce Hall. The redevelopment proposal would allow the University to build new student accommodation and increase the number of residential students at the hall in the future.
While no final decisions about the future of Bruce Hall have been made, the Vice-Chancellor provided an overview of the concept. The Vice-Chancellor invited current student residents of Bruce Hall to become involved in the proposal and provide their input into the process. Focus groups began meeting in mid-March and feedback from students was gathered and provided to the architects. This process is continuing.
On 7 April 2016 a forum was also held to share some of the ideas with former residents of Bruce Hall.
What are the key features of the design of the new buildings?
The existing buildings, which house over 200 residents, will be replaced with two new buildings that can each accommodate 400 students. The new buildings will be located on the current Bruce Hall site on Daley Road.
The current design concept envisages two buildings, each with its own central quadrangle areas on either side of University Avenue. Designs for communal spaces including dining halls are still being worked on. The current proposal includes returning areas located on University Avenue to an open green space in line with the government's National Capital Plan.
The Packard Wing buildings will not be replaced as part of the Bruce Hall redevelopment plan.
What is the proposed timing?
The University is suggesting, if the new buildings proceed, that demolition would commence in late 2016 with construction flowing on from there and completion of the new buildings by the beginning of the 2018 academic year.
The timing is critical as the provision of alternative accommodation for the Bruce community during construction is a critical factor.
Why are the new buildings proposed for the existing Bruce Hall site?
The University looked at the car park sites both north and of the existing Bruce Hall site. Both sites have deficiencies such as planning height restrictions, difficult shapes and light and shade issues. Over 10 different site placements and configurations were evaluated, and the existing Bruce Hall site offered the best design options.
What will happen to current Bruce Hall students?Bruce Hall residents approved to return in 2017 will be temporarily accommodated in the student residence that is currently under construction "SA5." This would also include an intake of first year Bruce students to ensure the cultural continuity of the community of Bruce Hall.
Provision will also be made for temporary catering facilities so that Bruce students in SA5 in 2017 will continue to have fully-catered meals.
In 2018, when the new buildings on the current Bruce site open, residents residing in SA5 will have the opportunity to apply for the new residential spaces.
Will this be a catered facility?
Yes, students in the new buildings will continue to have a fully-catered experience.
Is 800 beds too large for one residential hall?
The concept is to have a building design, which will cater for two smaller communities of 400 residents each. Ensuring the new buildings are set up in a way that will allow students to develop strong bonds and be part of a close-knit community is important. The two communities are likely to share some infrastructure to help keep costs down and deliver the lowest possible tariffs.
Will this address the problems of recent years with returning students not all able to return?
Yes, the new buildings will provide some much needed student accommodation space and over time we will be able to accommodate more new and returning students.
Who will manage the new buildings?
The new buildings will remain under ANU management. The proposed staffing model includes a single leadership team and one head of hall. This team will be responsible for the two buildings and the communities within them. Ensuring a high level of quality pastoral care is a priority for the new Bruce Hall and the University is committed to providing sufficient staffing for pastoral care for a community of 800.
Will there by staffing changes?
The University has met with all the staff of Bruce Hall. Under the new model, it is proposed that maintenance of the new Hall will be provided under a third party arrangement but all existing maintenance staff in Bruce Hall have been guaranteed alternative employment. There are operational staffing issues that impact catering and housekeeping staff that have not yet been determined. There will be no changes to the staffing arrangements for the provision of pastoral care.
What will the new buildings cost?
The general estimate for new student accommodation is just over $100,000 per bed and the cost of catering facilities will add somewhat to these costs. The University is aiming for a construction cost broadly consistent with these factors.
Will the University maintain the unique culture and heritage of Bruce Hall in the new building?
Bruce Hall Keep and Preserve is a new heritage committee being established to identify, collect and store significant artefacts, artwork, documents, furnishings, furniture and objects relating to the unique culture and histories of Bruce Hall. This committee will help determine and manage the Bruce Hall collection and ensure important components of it are appropriately integrated into the new buildings.
ANU will work closely with the architects of the new building to incorporate design elements of the old Bruce Hall into the new buildings.
Will fees and tariffs increase for Bruce Hall students?
Fee increases will be fixed at CPI rates.
How do I provide input into the process?
Students will be invited to join focus groups to help design the new buildings and a series of separate consultation meetings will be held around key planning issues and processes.
When will a decision be made?
A decision will need to be made by early July 2016 if the notional construction timetable is to be met.