Whitehorn Hall and Powell Hall are officially set to open to students in September 2018, along with expansions to other halls of residence, after the University announced their plan to expand residential spaces in 2016.
The new additions to the halls of residences will increase residential space offered by the University from 4,000 to 4,900 occupants, in an effort to accommodate the increase of students attending the University.
A spokesperson from the University said, “The University is committed to providing quality accommodation, with locations close to classes [and] in town, and provide a spectrum of additional benefits not found in private accommodation, i.e. night bus, wifi, security, pastoral care, to name a few.”
Whitehorn Hall will have 184 rooms and be adjacent to University Hall in Kennedy Gardens, located near the Sports Centre.
Featuring self-catered standard and catered en-suite undergraduate accommodation, these single-occupancy rooms are lined along corridors where each student will share a kitchen between five students.
Residence fees for the 2018-2019 academic year are £9,156 for single en-suite catered and £5,391 for single standard self-catered.
Powell Hall will offer 205 self-catered en-suite rooms for undergraduates and be adjacent to Agnes Blackadder Hall on North Haugh. Each occupant will share a kitchen space with five other students, and residence fees for the next academic year are set at £6,954.
Other facilities for the two halls include a main social space, games room, cinema room, private dining room, music room, study spaces and laundry room.
Currently, Albany Park is undergoing construction to prepare for the redevelopment in September 2018, and it will reopen again in 2020.
Andrew Melville Hall has also been closed this academic year but will return this September at the same residence fee as it was previously.
The University spokesperson further stated, “The University is committed to providing a mixture of accommodation types and growing the lowest cost options in discussion with the student president and student body.”
However, with promises of cheaper accommodation, many students feel that the price of living in the University halls is rising to an unfair cost, especially as Whitehorn Hall will be the most expensive accommodation by the University for its single ensuite-catered rooms.
Joshua Glazer, deputy senior student of Agnes Blackadder Hall, said, “It’s a shame the prices are going up, especially with Albany [Park] closing down, which is a hall that people rather liked as it was a nice cheap option for accommodation.”
Others feel the University should have built halls of residence with a self-catered option at a lower fee.
University Hall senior student Corey Hunter-Park said, “We need to house more students, of course, but what the University should be focusing on is low-price, affordable student houses. More expensive ‘luxury’ accommodation is not needed.”
The rectorial team is gathering information for the rector’s report, which will be presented to the University Court, the highest governing body of the University.
Rector Srdja Popovic said, “We know that the construction of Powell and Whitehorn Halls, along with the loss of Albany Park and Andrew Melville as affordable options, are likely to affect the student population. That being said, we hope to move forward conversations with students and the University to see how we can best improve the situation for all of us.”