AUT Student Accommodation Set to Open for 2021
By Larissa Howie
A new student accommodation facility in the Auckland CBD is expected to open its doors to nearly 700 AUT students next year.
The development is located on the corner of Mayoral Drive and will offer self-contained studio rooms, each with a private kitchen and bathroom.
An AUT spokesperson told Debate the building is being funded by a private developer and will be operated by UniLodge, an Australia-based accommodation provider.
In contrast, AUT’s other centrally located facility, Wellesley Student Apartments (WSA), consists of more communal, apartment-style living, with approximately five people per apartment. This is managed by Campus Living Villages.
On top of providing accommodation, the Mayoral Drive development will also include a recreation centre, located on the lower floors of the building. This will be open to all AUT students and its fit-out will be funded by AUT through the student building levy.
The student accommodation sector came under public scrutiny last year following the death of Mason Pendrous, whose body was not discovered for several weeks at the Sonoda Village student accommodation in Christchurch.
A former WSA Residential Assistant (RA), Tristan Syse, spent his first year of university living in a UniLodge studio room in 2017.
“I found it could get really lonely and isolating especially since there wasn’t really a sense of community there,” he says.
AUT says it will be working with UniLodge and Student Association teams to develop a plan to ensure the support and well-being of residents going forward.
According to the university, this will include provision for social, personal and learning support, as well as monitoring.
Since Pendrous’ death, the government has introduced an interim code of standards for the care of residents in student accommodation across New Zealand.
AUT says in the wake of the tragedy, it carried out an independent assessment of processes, procedures and systems within accommodation services to confirm that these met the safety and well-being of residential students and to ensure that residents were appropriately supported and monitored.
Despite the studio nature of the Mayoral Drive living quarters, AUT says the building will feature a communal floor to act as a community hub for students.
This floor will include a large kitchen, dining areas, a games room, music and media spaces. There will also be quiet study spaces, a communal laundry and two outdoor areas for barbeques and seating.