Monash University has announced plans to build 1000 new beds for students on campus by January 2016, allowing them to achieve their aims of creating what has been dubbed a “University city”, right in the heart of scenic Clayton.
As Graham Keene from the Facilities and Services Division (FSD) told Lot’s Wife, the new developments will allow Monash to package together “world-class offerings of research, education and accommodation”, as well as an “improved retail and services environment” leading to an “overall improved campus experience”.
From July 2014, Monash students, staff and guests will lose access to three of the most central carparks. These are the C2 car park outside the Administration building is going to become one of the new towers, the E1 car park next to the hockey courts which is currently used for parking by students living at the existing Halls of Residence, and finally the C11 car park which is currently used by many students for free carpool car parking, as well as by students living on Res and university contractors due to its central location. As a result, carpool will be shifted to the South East and North West carparks and the rugby oval next to Union Loop will become a temporary carpark.
Bam! And the car parks are gone!
The MSA has expressed concern about how the addition of 1000 news bed will impact on life at Clayton campus. In light of the already limited public transport access to campus, the MSA President Ben Knight has indicated that he is concerned about what impact removing three central carparks and adding 1000 new residents to campus will have on traffic and transport for off-campus students and staff.
There is some concern on campus that the University is not focusing enough on the realities of student life in building these news halls. The most recent new halls, Briggs and Jackomos, have been criticised by MSA Indigenous Officer Dan Carter in the past as being too expensive for students from low-socio-economic backgrounds despite being built under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). As it stands, the University currently charges students $260 per week to live in Briggs and Jackomos, compared to the $106 per week median rental for a room in a four person sharehouse in Clayton.
When Lot’s Wife put these questions to Monash Residential Services (MRS), they informed us that although prices for the new halls have not been set at the time of writing, it will be necessary to take into account the fact that the rent paid by students living in these apartments needs to be sufficient to cover the loan the University has taken out to build these new structures. MRS also stressed that their pricing includes utilities; social events and pastoral care for students- and that they believe that these rates are fair and reasonable.
Jesse Cameron, the president of the Deakin Hall Society, disagrees with the claims made by MRS. His experiences in the older halls – including Deakin, Howitt, Roberts and Richardson- have led him to believe that the current rate is already far above fair for those halls. He singles out MRS’s claims of 24-hour pastoral support as a “joke” and agrees with the MSA’s arguement that Briggs and Jackomos Halls aren’t working when it comes to getting more low-SES students to Monash University.
Concerns have also been expressed over the position of the new Halls in relation to the University’s new smoke-free policy, which will start to come into effect in semester two this year. Whilst MRS has informed Lot’s Wife that they are currently working to ensure an “appropriate strategy is implemented” in relation to making these new, central Halls smoke-free, some current residents don’t believe that any potential bans will have much effect. Another student who currently lives in Halls, Layla Homewood, says that she doesn’t believe any bans on smoking at Halls will have much effect as it “would just become another activity that residents have to hide”.
The Facilities and Services Division was contacted for comment on carparking but did not reply by the deadline
Data on average pricing provided by realestate.com.au and is accurate at time of writing.