The University of New England is embarking on a major redevelopment of its colleges as it strives to become the country’s pre-eminent collegiate university.
In a major step in this process, UNE Council has appointed UniLodge as the preferred tenderer for the first stage of the redevelopment.
Chancellor Richard Torbay said UNE’s Strategic Plan 2011-2015 is to grow volume and margin in distance education and to reinvest the surpluses on-campus, particularly in the university’s college
“This unique partnership with UniLodge, in which we will maintain our contribution to the college’s operating costs, allows us to retain the UNE culture and lifestyle and avoid privatisation,” Mr Torbay said.
Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said the colleges are a national treasure and the university wants to ensure their rich culture and history are retained in any redevelopment.
“Last year we began our college redevelopment project by appointing deans and academic masters to two of our colleges,” Prof Barber said.
“These appointments have strengthened the academic culture of both colleges and we will continue to enhance the academic life and pastoral care at all of our colleges.
“With that work well underway we are now turning our attention to modernising our ageing college infrastructure, to ensure that our aspiration to be the nation’s best is reflected in our residential offerings to students.
“An important aspect of this partnership is that all physical assets will revert to UNE.
“This redevelopment will give UNE a competitive edge over other collegiate universities.”
Chief operating officer Peter Enlund said the first stage of what UNE hopes will be the total redevelopment of its college system, was likely to focus on Robb College.
“We will now work with UniLodge to develop a more detailed proposal which can be taken to college staff and residents for their input in the coming months,” Mr Enlund said.
“Our colleges have a proud history dating back more than 50 years and we need to ensure that tradition lives on by breathing new life into the college’s infrastructure.
“I look forward to working with Robb College in the months ahead to ensure that we honour and maintain the college’s rich culture and history.”