Bond Uni Unveils Plans for Towering Student Digs

Bond University has unveiled plans for a two-tower “home away from home” for hundreds of students to cater for the growth and accommodation needs of its Gold Coast campus.

The proposal is earmarked for 7063sq m site at 14 Lake Street, Varsity Lakes—next to the not-for-profit private university. It would be linked to the campus via a partially elevated walkway.

“Due to the current Gold Coast urban city growth (local population demands) and student semester housing needs, Bond University is further establishing centralised additional educational areas with direct onsite student units, care and education close to their main campus,” a planning report said.

Under the plans, two towers rising 15 and 17 levels would house 646 student beds across a mix of 499 studio and shared two and three-bedroom units.

The two buildings would share a common central base from basement to level 4 with the lower levels integrating 1345sq m of flexible space to “support the students’ learning experience” through its use for a variety of different faculty areas of study and/or interactive learning.

 Each student level also would include areas for study and recreational lounges. As well, the plans include student dining facilities, kitchen and laundry amenities, communal and exercise areas, an e-gaming and multimedia area, and rooftop terrace spaces to enjoy or study outdoors.

Basement parking also would be provided with 159 car spaces and 81 bike spaces for the student residents as well as end-of-trip facilities and on-site electrical vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The architectural scheme by Raunik Design Group includes landscaped voids throughout the proposed development to allow for penetration of natural light and enhance green space and the sub-tropical context.

“This project should make its mark and be a proud addition to the university’s already ambitious campus,” according to an architectural statement.

“The site opens new opportunities for connection to the university, the semi-urban Varsity Lakes village and the greater City of Gold Coast.

“The proposed student accommodation should offer a ‘home away from home’ and become a sanctuary for its residents. Social interactions will be fostered as the student community finds its place. A strong sense of place will increase the student’s wellbeing and identity and contribute to their overall university experience.”

The development application lodged with the Gold Coast City Council is seeking approval for a material change of use over the vacant Lake Street site for an educational establishment.

It noted the student accommodation towers had been designed and articulated to create visual interest, contribute to the surrounding area and respond to the view spines present on the Bond University campus.

“These spines enhance the flow of the educational establishments, providing opportunities for view corridors, natural light, airflow, landscaping and enjoyment,” the DA said. 

Materials to be used for the proposed development also would be “uniquely similar to the Bond University finishes … to ensure the educational establishment would tie in near seamlessly with the existing campus themes”.

“The proposed development will contribute to the provision of a high-quality modern education establishment, with associated student provisions of adequate height, bulk, and amenity,” the planning report said.

It added the proposed integrated concept of the student accommodation towers had been designed to “actively enhance” the Bond University-Varsity area and be “fully responsive to the needs of those who will be using them, with direct consideration for the social, educational, liveability and health aspects”.

Earlier this year, the Property Council of Australia warned of an imminent shortage of purpose-built student accommodation as the sector prepares to deal with the anticipated influx of thousands more Chinese students.

In a sudden edict by Chinese education officials in Beijing, students were told they must return to on-campus, face-to-face learning if their foreign education credentials were to be recognised back in China.

A report released late last year by the Student Accommodation Council—an arm of the property council—revealed many Australian cities were already at capacity for student accommodation beds, with Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide expecting zero vacancy rates in 2023.

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