High quality future for unique residential system

Published 20 October 2017

In keeping with the new Campus Master Plan, UNE will be commencing the development of high quality accommodation to meet the needs of a growing number of students, in 2018.

After five years of consultation, the University of New England is proceeding with the development of Robb College.

The NSW Heritage Council has informed UNE that it will not be pursuing a heritage listing of the college.

“We now have the surety we need to map out the future of Robb College,” UNE Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan, said.

“The College is part of the unique residential system offered by UNE.

“Our colleges are a home away from home for students from across the region and the world. Safe, quality accommodation is an essential element of the University’s ability to attract students, and it is vital that our college buildings comply with modern standards while providing an attractive environment to live and study.”

In July, the University Council also gave in principle agreement to begin scoping works on an expansion of the Wright Village accommodation.

“Our residential colleges are key to attracting international students, and dated infrastructure does not meet the expectations of international students,” Professor Duncan said.

“As part of an overall residential college redevelopment strategy we will refurbish Wright Village and construct a new block specifically to improve residential options for international students.”

UNE will start the development process by demolishing the now-vacant residential sections of Robb College.

“The residential areas of Robb are no longer appropriate for use,” Professor Duncan said.

“Their dated design, form of construction and state of repair represents an unacceptable risk to students, which is why we stopped using the college in 2014.

“In the years they have lain vacant, they have been a cost to the University that can’t be recouped.

“In their unoccupied state, they also offer a target for trespassers and vandals.”

While the residential buildings will be replaced, UNE will be preserving Robb’s iconic Communal Dining Hall. Any additions to the hall that are incongruous with the original design will be removed.

The University is currently preparing plans for the development of the Robb College precinct in consultation with relevant stakeholders including the Robb community.