SIT's new city apartments open

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
SIT apartments
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
HOME FROM HOME: Southern Institute of Technology accommodation officer Paul Watts checks the new Spey St apartment complex, open for overseas students.

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It will soon be a full house at a new Southern Institute of Technology apartment block as the polytechnic continues to pursue overseas students.

A new block of Spey St apartments, completed late last month, has opened exclusively to overseas students and their families.

SIT accommodation officer Paul Watts said the 14 apartments were all assigned to overseas students, with several already occupied.

The students, hailing from Vietnam, China, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and England, were sharing the two-bedroom apartments as families, couples or groups of four, Mr Watts said.

The block is the first part of a two-part complex, constructed to cater to a growing overseas student population.

The historic Shiny Paua building was demolished on Monday to make way for the second section, which was expected to be ready in about six months, Mr Watts said.

Once completed, the Spey St blocks will be able to hold 108 students.

The polytechnic would like to be able to offer beds to domestic students but, at this stage, demand from overseas students was so high that it was not possible, he said.

Meanwhile, a new Queenstown apartment complex is scheduled to be officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English on February 28.

About 15 students had already moved into the new building and, unlike in the Invercargill apartments, most of residents were New Zealanders, Mr Watts said.

Southern Institute of Technology chief executive Penny Simmonds said the entire Spey St development would cost about $4.5 million, although stage one had been completed under budget.

There were no plans to construct or develop other accommodation options in Invercargill, Ms Simmonds said.

Converting the Kelvin Hotel to student accommodation was still an option the institute would consider, but the project would depend on the ILT, the costs involved and student demand, she said.

Last year, the polytechnic attracted more than 700 international students.

 

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