Student accommodation transformation

Student accommodation transformation

Student accommodation at UOW will undergo major expansion and transformation in a multi-million dollar deal that is the first of its kind in Australia.

The plans to increase the amount and quality of accommodation on offer, and to develop the Wollongong campus into a vibrant destination of choice for students, have been unveiled as UOW enters the final stages of negotiation in a unique agreement with a private sector partner.

UOW will enter into a long-term licence agreement of its entire student accommodation portfolio to a private sector consortium, which will invest in two newly built, on-campus residences, taking the number of beds the University can provide to students to more than 2,500.

The University will retain responsibility for the day-to-day operations of student accommodation, currently comprised of 1,905 beds over nine properties and precincts.  The consortium, Living + Learning Partners (L+LP) – whose lead partner is Balfour Beatty Investments – will be granted a 39-year licence of the new and existing accommodation and will provide the University with a funding injection that will be used to invest in our core teaching and research endeavours.

L+LP will design and build two new, high-quality student accommodation facilities on the Wollongong campus, comprising a total more than 1,000 beds. Construction is expected to commence in July 2015 and be completed by 2018 and is anticipated to create more than 300 jobs each year.

Professor Paul Wellings, UOW Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are very excited about this opportunity to work with a world-class public infrastructure partner and to increase the capacity and quality of our student accommodation. The project will continue our efforts to create a vibrant campus and also allow us to recycle funds for vital teaching and research infrastructure and resources.”

Rob Drake, Head of Balfour Beatty Investments Australia, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with the University and applying our capabilities to assist UOW in achieving its ambitions.

“Balfour Beatty Investments takes a global approach to the higher education sector, with its university accommodation team in Sydney working with their colleagues in the UK and the United States, collaborating on the latest, best in class designs, as well as the best service delivery and the optimal financial structure.”

The partnership comes after the University sought expressions of interest from private partners in 2013, in response to increasing demand for accommodation from domestic and international students.