At the end of November 2011, New Collegians, staff and even the Dean and his family vacated the original New College to make way for the most significant renovations and refurbishments to be carried out on the building in its 42 year history.
The addition of the 4th floor in 2003-2004 was the last major upgrade at New College. While ongoing programmed maintenance and upgrades to the ground floor have been made to the College over time, this current building program will transform the internal, student facilities and decor of the building. It is an ambitious project, with over $7 million in capital works being undertaken in just under three months. An alternative option was to stage the upgrades over several years. However, this approach had the potential to cause much more disruption to the residents of the College and increase costs significantly.
The renovations will include refurbishments of all rooms and common rooms on floors one to three. The refurbishments will include new cupboards, shelving, desks, carpet, heating, painting and lighting. The College groups will undergo some internal changes bringing an end to the ‘dog boxes’ (previously the smallest rooms in College). Each floor will have four large common rooms, rather than eight small ones, to make way for new rooms. The new common rooms will each be fitted out with a kitchenette and large living area.
Many attempts have been made in previous decades to try and properly seal the surface of the courtyard to prevent water damage. Engineers have concluded that the only way to ultimately solve the problem and prevent further costly damage is to place a detached roof over the central courtyard. Consequently, a glass and polycarbonate roof will be suspended above the existing roof of 4th Floor with special ventilating louvers all the way around to help regulate the temperature inside and keep out the rain. The skylights on the floor of the courtyard will be removed creating considerably more functional space.
A new games room adjoining a student lounge room will be placed in one quarter of the courtyard. From here, a staircase has been designed to descend into the Dining Hall which will also allow natural light to reach the Ground Floor. Another quarter of the courtyard will feature a deck area with tables and chairs. A wide bridge will be suspended above the courtyard at the level of the 3rd Floor. This will create a new study space for residents or just a place to relax. The whole courtyard will be transformed into a versatile, all-weather venue.
A new kitchen will be built on the 1st Floor and will overlook the UNSW Village Green. This kitchen will be available for use by residents, should they wish to cook themselves the occasional meal and when preparing food for suppers and other student-run events. A number of changes will be made throughout the building to bring it up-to-date with Fire and Disabled Access regulations. On the Ground Floor, five new apartments will be built where the current Snr Resident Advisor’s flat is situated. These will be available for Visiting-Fellows, parents, and other short-stay or conference accommodation visitors during Summer and Winter Vacations. They will help create a new source of revenue for the College. This revenue will help to pay for the financing of the renovations.
The works will be finalised before new and returning residents arrive at the College in mid February for the start of the 1st Academic Session at UNSW in 2012.