Last night's official opening of University Hall with more than 500 new self-contained studio and one-bedroom apartments for students at The University of Western Australia marks a significant milestone in the UWA's goal to become a world top 50 university by 2050.
About 130 students, guests and staff saw UWA Chancellor Dr Michael Chaney unveil a commemorative plaque at the former Currie Hall site to signify the University's ongoing commitment to providing a world-class tertiary study experience for domestic and international students.
Dr Chaney said the success of world top universities in the US such as Harvard, the California Institute of Technology and Columbia University - where more than 90 per cent of students live on campus - showed the benefit of offering a broad student experience through residential college study.
He thanked the Federal and State Governments for helping UWA expand this vital capability through the publicly-funded National Rental Affordability Scheme.
The University aims to provide quality student accommodation at an affordable cost, particularly for Indigenous Australians, those from rural and isolated areas of Western Australia, students with a disability, students with low socio-economic status and women enrolled in non-traditional disciplines.
"The addition of more than 500 residences is the most significant event in the long and proud history of the hall since its founding in 1946," Dr Chaney said.
"Achieving this milestone today is testament to the many people involved - including contractor Probuild, architect HASSELL and a huge number of UWA staff - who have worked extremely hard to deliver this project, and within a very tight timeframe."
The evening began with a Welcome To Country spoken in Noongar dialect by Whadjuk Elder Dr Richard Walley, who also played the didgeridoo for guests, who included WA Housing Minister Bill Marmion, WA Senator Sue Lines representing the Federal Government and Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi.
Last night's formal opening celebrated completion of one of the largest capital projects undertaken by UWA in the past decade, consisting of three new accommodation buildings and additional facilities such as media, games and music rooms, undercroft parking, bike storage, landscaped courtyards and an on-site cafe.
The opening of UWA's new $72 million facility - which has accommodated residential students since March - is the latest in a series of landmark events throughout the State to celebrate the University's 2013 Centenary Year.
It follows news earlier this month that UWA rose to 4th place in Australia in the prestigious 2013 Academic Word Ranking of Universities, and advanced five places globally to be 91st out of 10,000 universities worldwide.
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783