UNE Chancellor, the Hon. John Watkins and Vice-Chancellor and CEO, Professor Jim Barber, were on the site this morning to officially turn the sod and mark the start of construction.
Mr Watkins said the construction of New College would cement UNE’s position as Australia’s preeminent collegiate University.
“UNE has a long, proud history of providing an exceptional college experience, with an estimated 50,000 students calling our colleges home since the first one opened in 1957,” Mr Watkins said.
New College will comprise of more than 200 studio and one bedroom self-catered apartments complete with en-suites, modernising and expanding the residential options available to students.
“However despite the more independent living arrangements, the students will still be supported by the exceptional pastoral care arrangements for which UNE’s Colleges are renowned.”
Professor Barber said today marked a major strategic milestone for UNE.
“When we released our Strategic Plan in 2011 we were clear about our objective – to grow our student numbers by volume and margin and to invest the surplus back into the student experience,” Professor Barber said. “Over the last few years we have worked diligently to improve the University’s financial position so we are able to fund projects such as this.
“I believe the Colleges at UNE are a national treasure and our College Redevelopment Project is designed to ensure that the Colleges can be enjoyed by students for generations to come.
“New College is the first stage of that Project, which in the years to come will eventually see upgrades carried out at all colleges.”
Construction of New College is expected to be completed by July 2014.