UNSW has announced a $110 million two-year redevelopment of its residential colleges as part of a major expansion in student accommodation.

The three halls of residence that make up the Kensington Colleges – Basser, Philip Baxter and Goldstein – will be demolished and rebuilt with additional capacity, housing 923 students.

The redevelopment and expansion will include a 160-bed fourth college open to all students, that will also meet the needs of UNSW Islamic students who wish to reside on campus; and a Senior’s Hall – a self-catering college for 230 senior undergraduates and postgraduate students.

UNSW currently offers more student beds than any other university in NSW, and when the new colleges open will have more than doubled its on-campus capacity in four years.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer said UNSW was reaffirming its support for collegiate accommodation as a crucial part of university life.

“UNSW is committed to ensuring ongoing provision of college accommodation with pastoral and academic support,” Professor Hilmer said.

“The Kensington colleges are the oldest at UNSW with a strong history and networks. They have played a vital role in fostering a vibrant community at UNSW. We want to enable more students to share in the benefits of college life.”

The University will own and operate the new expanded colleges, due to open in early 2014.

“We recognised the significant unmet demand for ‘full service’ accommodation on campus, said Executive Director of University Services,” Mr Neil Morris.

“UNSW is located in one of Australia’s most expensive residential areas. We are very conscious of the need to provide affordable, high-quality campus accommodation for our students.”

The redeveloped colleges will continue to provide a home for students from regional and rural Australia and from overseas.

“With one of the most diverse student bodies in Australia, UNSW seeks to provide an environment that is welcoming of all religions and cultures. We are pleased to be able to establish a new college that will be supportive of the needs of Islamic students and open to all students,” Mr Morris said.

During the building phase the existing college communities will continue to operate in smaller numbers to ensure the history and traditions are carried over into the new entities.

Over the past two years, UNSW has significantly expanded accommodation facilities for students with the opening of the UNSW Village (1,000 beds) and the New College Village (319 beds). Another self-catered complex providing 398 beds at Gate 2, High Street, is currently under construction, due to open in early 2013.

The range of services available on campus will also be expanded over the next three to five years, including informal study spaces, shopping, banking, cultural and sporting facilities.

“A major incentive behind these developments has been to reinvigorate the campus, as well as provide convenient and affordable accommodation for students,” said Mr Morris.

The Kensington Colleges have been home to a number of distinguished alumni, including former Vice-Chancellor, John Niland; Professor Robert Clark; Rhodes Scholar, Elizabeth Stone; former Wallabies Captain, Simon Poidevin; and brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo.   

Media contact: Denise Knight, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8920 | 0405 207 685