During the design phase New College Village was referred to as ‘The Post Graduate Village’ or ‘the New College PGV’. It was originally planned to have 250 rooms which was then upped to 313. In its first year there were 315 residents drawn from every continent (except Antarctica) and representing at least 55 nations.
In 2004 a preliminary proposal was submitted to the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Rory Hume seeking his willingness to consider an application for lease of land to build a postgraduate building. His enthusiasm was matched by his successor Professor Mark Wainwright and a proposal was ultimately submitted to Senior Management in 2005 and followed by a larger proposal to the University’s Council in 2006. The proposal to lease land at the corner of Day Avenue and Anzac Parade was approved in May 2006. Randwick Council approved the Development Application on the 14th August 2007, contracts were signed on the 25th August and demolition of existing buildings commenced on site on the 28th August 2007.
The building was constructed by Sydney based construction company The Lipman Group. This company is headed up by a New College Alumni member – Managing Director Mr Paul Watkins who also managed construction of the multi award winning University of NSW L5 NSG Building (221–227 Anzac Parade, Kensington) which was built on the former bowling alley and later UniSearch site opposite New College. He was a resident of New College while studying architecture from 1969–1974. Mr Watkins’ strong knowledge of New College from his student days helped to inform the practical application of his design and construction experience to the design and the construction phases of the project.
The Architects who have been responsible for the design are well-known Sydney Architects Allen Jack+Cottier (AJC), with the driver being Andrew Parker. AJC has been careful to be faithful to the original design brief (which the Master, Trevor Cairney, had prepared based on his experience of residential buildings in Australia, USA and the UK), while constantly looking for ways to enhance the appearance, efficiency and functionality of the building.
The foundation stone was laid on the 12th February 2008 to officially launch the construction process for the New College Village. Speakers at the ceremony included: The Master, Trevor Cairney, The UNSW Vice Chancellor and Professor Frederick Hilmer. Emeritus Professor Edwin Judge represented the founding members of the New University Colleges Council (NUCC) who were responsible for the development of the original New College at UNSW.
Practical completion of the college was achieved on 19 December 2008. The Master and the first 15 students moved into the building on 5th January 2009 with the college becoming full in February. NCV’s very first resident to check in was Laura Sharpe who was in the 3rd year of a doctoral program. All the way from Penrith!
The official opening of New College Village took place on Friday May 8 2009. The guests at the opening were leading burns surgeon Prof Fiona Wood, Archbishop of Sydney The Most Rev Peter Jensen and UNSW Vice Chancellor and President Prof Fred. Prof Wood opened the building by unveiling a commemorative plaque. She spoke about the benefits of communities fostered by places such as NCV, in particular, the role that communities can play in supporting research.
New College Village is now a thriving community that is home to many of Australia’s finest upper-year undergraduates and post-graduate researchers.