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Upgraded College a hit with its residents

Thursday 31 October 2019 4:12pm

Light, open and student-focussed - a year after hectic renovations, a refurbished Hayward College has proved popular with this year's residents.

As the academic year winds down, the mood in the University’s Hayward College matches its bright, remodelled interior.

There’s a relaxed vibe as students play table tennis and hang out in the common area with light streaming through the ground floor windows.

Daniel Cocker, the president of the Hayward College Student Committee, says he has thoroughly enjoyed his year in the new-look facility.

“I’ve got a couple of mates coming to Dunedin next year to study and I’ll definitely recommend Hayward to them. We gave tours this year and everyone was blown away with it.”

This time last year preparations were being made for an extensive summer refurbishment of Hayward on a challenging timeframe.

The former Queen Mary Maternity Hospital was converted to a college in 1992 and the time had come for modern refresh.

Hayward bedroom image

All 162 bedrooms were to be rebuilt and another 12 added, the ground floor dining room and common space expanded, study rooms created and a completely new look and feel achieved through design and colour.

After a hectic 14 weeks of construction activity - during which the Hayward kitchen was kept open to feed workers and some contractors even had their hair cut on site to save time - the College opened in time for the 2019 year.

Contractors Logic Group did such a good job they have just won Best Team award at the NZ Property Council Southern Excellence awards for their efforts, beating strong competition.

For Head of College Pauline Donovan all the hard work has been worth it.

“The refurbishment was student-focussed and the architect and designer were in tune with what young people would like. So it’s very light and open and there are lots of different little spaces the students can use for study.

“This year’s cohort has been really proud to help us show people around.”

Hayward dining image

Senior Warden of Colleges Jamie Gilbertson says the aim of the refurbishment was the creation of an atmosphere of “warmth, inclusion, safety and enjoyment.”

“We move with the times. The past guides us but this is a very future-focussed facility which complements excellent programming and care of students. There’s the bricks and mortar but it’s also complementary to the student way which is paying attention to who they are and what they like.”

Students spoken to at Hayward liked the renovated bedrooms and kitchenettes and praised the design of the common areas.

“There’s a good balance of social and study,” says Renee Baird.

The 174-bedroom college, centrally located on Frederick Street, is proving popular with prospective students for the 2020 year.

“There has been strong positive interest from students, a trend we hope to see continue for Hayward and all other colleges,” Mr Gilbertson says.

Hayward study room image