Trinity spent €305,000 renovating House 30, redeveloping 36 apartments and eight kitchens.
There are now plans to refurbish Houses 18 to 20 in Botany Bay this summer.
The building situated on the left-hand side of the Graduate Memorial Building (GMB) was completely renovated during the summer months last year. Now, the refurbishment of on-campus accommodation will move to the next stage, beginning with Botany Bay.
Speaking to The University Times, Medium Capital Projects Manager Emmett Dalton explained that this was the obvious next step to make the accommodation available more environmentally friendly.
“This summer, the residential refurbishment programme covers House 18 to 20, with bathroom and kitchen works, as well as the swap to energy efficient lighting and some thermal and acoustic insulation to the windows on the north side of the houses”, he said.
With the renovation of the on-campus accommodation falling to the Commercial Revenue Unit, Dalton emphasised the need for the project to be completed as soon as possible. “Accommodation is needed for tourists during the summer”, he explained, calling it “an important source of revenue for the college”. “They have a short timeframe”, he continued.
The project is due to commence during the summer and be completed before the beginning of the coming academic year.
Last year, on-campus accommodation faced a second year of increases with reinvestment and refurbishment being cited as the reason behind the growing prices. Rooms in Front Square, New Square and Botany Bay saw the largest increase of 11 per cent in 2016/17. This year the rate, which includes utilities cost, increased by 8.8 per cent, from €6,588.22 for 2016/17 to €7167.42 for the 2017/18 year.
In a statement to The University Times after the increases, Trinity’s Head of Accommodation, Anthony Dempsey, said that increases in rent are normally used to “cover operational costs”. Last year’s increase, he said, were proposed “to provide for greater re-investment in the property and for a sinking fund to fund longer term replacements of items such as boilers and elevators”.
Dempsey also confirmed that some of the money from the rent increase will be used for the refurbishment of College accommodation and for the soundproofing of property.
Earlier this month, a proposal to increase the price of on-campus accommodation was voted against during a meeting of Finance Committee. A memorandum seen by The University Times from Trinity’s Director of Commercialisation Adrian Neilan recommended a €21 increase per week in Botany Bay, New Square, Graduates Memorial Building and Front Square accommodation to support a reduction in costs in the privately rented Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court accommodation complexes.
The increases were proposed under two options. The first would see Trinity raise rents to refurbish apartments in 2018/19. For example, a student living in Botany Bay, who current pays €214 a week, would have to pay €240 a week. But, apartments would be refurbished.
Under option two, with no refurbishment, a student living in Botany Bay would pay €235 a week. However, Trinity would not refurbish the apartments, despite Finance Committee agreeing to do so in May 2017.
However, the increase, which was opposed by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), did not make it through the March meeting of Finance Committee.