Boasting over 880 rooms, UCT's new Obz Square residence on Main Road in Observatory is a sizeable chunk of building, so understandably the neighbours have some questions and concerns.
On 21 November, the university addressed some of those questions at a Community Information Day at the residence, where Observatory residents were shown around the building and given an opportunity to raise their concerns. (The week before, the university had also unveiled the residence - completed a full month ahead of schedule - to the media.)
Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price and his team of senior managers explained the need for building the residence - demand from students for on- or near-campus accommodation has swelled - and then detailed some of the building's state-of-the-art features (see side-bar).
Among the community's concerns were the availability of parking space for visitors (no parking is allowed outside the residence), policies to address doubling-up or squatting (ie students allowing others to live in their rooms), and measures for dealing with misbehaving students, like those returning to the residence late at night. The residence's business space for retailers, the need for a gym where students can "vent their frustrations", the stops for the Jammie Shuttle, and how students would maintain the culture of the suburb also came up. (These issues are being looked into, promised Grant Willis, director of Student Housing & Residence Life, and John Critien, executive director of UCT Properties and Services.)
Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Crain Soudien explained that UCT intends to create a "living learning environment" in Obz Square, and called on Observatory residents both to hold the university accountable for this, and to be partners in the project.
"We would like to be good neighbours," he noted.
Things you didn't know about Obz Square
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