Press Release – University of Auckland
An ultra-modern hall of residence in Whitaker Place for 442 University of Auckland students opens this week. University Hall, with twin towers linked on a two-level podium, will boost fully catered accommodation at the University by 60 percent.14 February 2011
$51 million student residence set to open
An ultra-modern hall of residence in Whitaker Place for 442 University of Auckland students opens this week.
University Hall, with twin towers linked on a two-level podium, will boost fully catered accommodation at the University by 60 percent. There were 900 applications for the 442 beds.
The residents, all first-year students, come from as far away from Kaitaia down to Canterbury. Some have their home in such distant parts of Greater Auckland as Pukekohe and Titirangi an hour or more’s travel from the University. Fifteen percent are international students from Britain, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia.
There is a balance of male and female students with half of one floor reserved as female only. More or less gender-separate space will be put aside in future years depending on demand.
The hall, which cost $51 million, boasts a host of attractive and up-to-date features for residents to encourage informal networking and collaborative study. These include a wireless e-library, a study pod on each of 13 residential floors complete with a white board and internet connection, a lounge with a large television screen, and a spacious, well-equipped games room.
The large dining room at level one is shielded from the nearby motorway through Grafton Gully by extensive tree foliage. The special glass in wall-length windows blots out almost all the traffic noise.
Residents’ rooms, many commanding spectacular harbour, Gulf, city and suburban views, use the same glass and are equally quiet. On each floor a common space with kitchen facilities links the north and south wings.
The hall will have two alcohol-free floors where alcohol can neither be drunk nor stored. Sunday to Wednesday will be non-drinking days throughout the hall.
“There is plenty of scope to have fun but students have to focus on the academic side early if they want to get on,” says Head of Hall, Tahlia Tini. “It is all part of striking a work-life balance which will help them succeed in the outside world.”
Residents will be encouraged to take the stairs rather than the two lifts to save energy and keep fit, and stair-climbing races will be organised.
Orange, yellow, red, green and other vibrant colours brighten the public areas. There are two wide decks outside where residents can eat and relax during downtime.
“A lot of thought has gone into making the building aesthetically pleasing for residents as well as functional,” says Tahlia.
“Land on this site is at a premium and all the glass makes the interior light and attractive while giving a sense of space. It is possible to forget you are in central Auckland.”
Tahlia will have the help of a small and enthusiastic team who are experienced in student accommodation including a live-in Residential Assistant on each floor. A duty person will available 24 hours a day.
“Everything is geared to support residents and help them in their transition from home to their new life at university,” she says.
The University Chancellor, Roger France, will officially open the complex on Thursday 16 February at 5pm. Residents begin moving in three days later with a comprehensive programme to help residents meet people, and settle into both the hall and university. There is also a session on “Parenting from a distance” for their parents.