MAXINE TWADDLE

Private residence Urban Nest will remain open next year despite rumours that it was going to close down. Professor Roelf Visser, Director of Residence Affairs, told Perdeby that UP has rented Urban Nest to Boekenhout and Olienhout residents for 2013. The two male residences will be renovated next year and Urban Nest will provide them with temporary accommodation. Boekenhout residents will occupy the building for the first semester and Olienhout will use the accommodation in the second semester. According to Prof. Visser, this will allow for the most effective upgrade of the residences.UP students who are currently staying at Urban Nest will be accommodated in other residences next year, provided that they meet academic requirements. This is expected to be a 58% average for the mid-year exams, Prof. Visser said. Concerns have been raised about the students who do not meet the required standards and will therefore not be placed in another UP residence. Students at Urban Nest who do not attend UP will not be considered for placement in a residence. Timothy Ramabulana, who chairs the UP branch of the ANC Youth League, said that “students face an uncertain future.” According to Ramabulana, alternative placements in the residences are not guaranteed for the 160 students who currently stay at Urban Nest. Prof. Visser, however, assured students that UP “will do [its] utmost best to aggressively negotiate fair lease agreements” with other possible providers of private student accommodation. Through this, Prof. Visser hopes that “additional affordable student accommodation for 2013, over and above our current residence portfolio [will be found].” Gavin Muller, speaking on behalf of Urban Nest, told Perdeby that Urban Nest was “delighted to welcome Boekenhout and Olienhout students” and said that he was “pleased that the facility could offer a ‘spill-over’ service to Tuks.” Muller revealed that Urban Nest was in the process of establishing another private residence in Pretoria. The facility, which will be near Loftus Versveld, will house over 500 students.

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