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New residences will help alleviate Fort Hare accommodation shortage

The unveiling of two new student residences - being built by student accommodation group‚ STAG African - at University of Fort Hare’s Alice campus in the Eastern Cape‚ will help address the major accommodation.

Fort Hare’s lack of accommodation continues to be one of its biggest challenges‚ with university-owned residences only able to accommodate 34% of its student population.

“Good accommodation is vital for the success of our students; we cannot expect them to pass and do well if their living conditions are less than adequate‚” doctor Mvuyo Tom‚ vice chancellor of Fort Hare said on Thursday.

The new residences‚ which are currently under construction and due for completion in September‚ will house 122 students. “We need to grow the number of beds at the institution‚ so we can deal with the high demand for student housing. It is particularly crucial that we achieve this‚ given the geographical location of Fort Hare‚ which is located in the remote town of Alice‚” Tom said.

“Our vision for this development is to create a living‚ listening and learning environment‚” John Schooling‚ director of STAG African said.

“The development goes beyond just providing accommodation; it creates a sense of community and a feeling of belonging‚ this is closely linked to student success.”

Over the past six years‚ STAG African has provided more than 1‚055 beds to universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges across the country. STAG African recently completed a 240-bed residence at Walter Sisulu University’s Nelson Mandela Drive Campus in Mthatha‚ and they are working towards the completion of a 200-bed residence at Stellenbosch’s Tygerburg campus.

Accommodation shortage is a major crisis in most universities and students are usually left with no choice than to stay in surrounding residential areas. New accommodation premises being built means increased responsibilities for Facility managers. When such construction is under control, it is essential for FMs to already be in the fore front of planning on how they will effectively manage the new facilities to the highest standards. The new facilities may be built in a different structure and design from the rest of the facilities that Facility Managers are already managing hence; the need for a different approach of management. If FMs remain one step ahead, this will ensure that when the new facilities are operational, pressure is not exerted on them, leading to mismanagement.

If FMs have been struggling with managing a certain aspect of the facilities, it is essential that they air these views when the new residence planning is being done. This will help do away with a concept that may pose problems later hence; save the university on costs and maintenance. It is for this reason that we have always emphasized that Facility Managers must be involved in the architectural planning of a facility to be built, more especially, if it is an addition to an existing facilities.



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