Despite pressure on students to find accommodation in the Dublin housing market, it is possible that the new student accommodation that has been under construction for the last three years will not open in September. UCD have acknowledged the issues faced by students, with the UCD Bursar David Kelly stating, “We are acutely aware of the pressure on our students in finding accommodation.”
A spokesperson for the university has said that “With the proviso that construction is allowed to open up, UCD expects to open 924 new bed spaces for the coming academic year.”
These 924 beds are Phase One of a 3,000-bed-development. When completed, this development will contain a village centre for students. However, the process has been delayed by the closure of the construction sector.
The following phase of the development includes plans for 1,254 beds. Work will begin on this phase following the easing of government restrictions. There are plans in place to complete work on another 700 beds when the earlier stages of the project have been completed.
Currently, there are 3,168 beds on campus. This will increase to 4,092 after the opening of the 924 that are under construction, and 5,346 upon completion of the next stage of the project. It is hoped that this additional on-campus student accommodation will “alleviate some of the wider pressure on the housing market in Dublin.”
Under 2,000 students have been living in the on-campus residences this academic year. Despite incidences of clusters in other University residences across the country UCD has said that it has not experienced any outbreaks of this kind and that there have been a “small number of cases.”
UCD has also stated that it will maintain its pledge to refund rent pro-rata to students who choose to return home for the coming academic year. In addition to this pledge, UCD says it has specific Covid-19 protocols for students who live in residences.
Emer Nolan – Reporter