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Work on the much-anticipated new student accommodation at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s George campus at Saasveld has been completed. The set of three buildings, services by a central study area, was officially opened by NMMU’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz, along with the campus’ newly completed roads infrastructure on 11 April 2013. 

Jointly this represents an investment of more than R20 million in new infrastructure at George Campus. “The university has made a wonderful investment in building new residences and a beautiful road at the NMMU George Campus. This initiative is in support of our desire to attract top students from the Southern Cape schools especially, and further afield, to our exciting current and new programmes in the years to come”, said newly appointed Campus Principal, Dr Quinton Johnson.  

Prof Swartz mentioned in his opening address that the new infrastructure supports the “living and learning culture; cosmopolitan and international character” which the university is pursuing.

A balance between on- and off-campus accommodation is being sought to achieve both integration with the community (and students living off-campus contribute towards this aim); and creating a vibrant on-campus student community.

The new student accommodation and roads form part of a R120 million investment in George Campus over the past nine years in support of the sustainable growth of the campus.

New residences create living and learning space for students

The new residences - Kamassi, Umdoni and Phoenix - have been named after tree species which are either indigenous or well-established in the area – a feature that all student accommodation at this Green Campus have in common.

The project, which was executed by turn-key developer Majestic Silver Trading (Pty) Ltd, will add an additional 75 beds (approximately 20%) to the existing on-campus student accommodation.  This includes three units designated for students with disabilities.

The developer was responsible for all the disciplines, from Architect all the way through to the Contractor, while the George branch of the multi-disciplinary engineering company,  Aurecon South Africa (Pty) Ltd, acted as NMMU’s representative for the project, in co-operation with NMMU’s internal experts responsible for projects and planning, and other project team members both in Port Elizabeth and George.

Various ‘green’ aspects were considered in the design, for example rain water harvesting, the use of heat-pumps as opposed to geysers and very few hard surfaces on the outside. The uniqueness of the surrounding houses was retained in the external appearance of the new student accommodation, but taking into consideration the elements that are conducive to a learning and living environment.

The project team for the development included the following: Developer – Majestic Silver Trading (Pty) Ltd; Architect – Stauch Vorster; Quantity Surveyor – BTKM; Engineers – Goba; Contractor – Pro Khaya Construction; Client Representative – Aurecon South Africa (Pty) Ltd. Work on the residences commenced in September 2012 and was functionally completed by mid-March. The project cost amounted to about R10 million.

Roads infrastructure at NMMU George revitalised at a cost of R10 million

What started as the upgrading of small sections of the road in need of repair near the sports fields on George Campus in 2010, culminated in the total revamping of the road infrastructure at a cost of R10 million.

The civil works which were to fundamentally change the appearance and quality of the roads infrastructure on campus commenced in August 2011 and the last portion of the project, linking the main entrance to the municipal infrastructure was completed early this year.

The transformation saw the dual access/exit carriageway being converted to a single, more environmentally-friendly paved road surface, capable of handling the increasing volumes of traffic in both directions. This option has also allowed the university to rehabilitate the natural environment alongside the new access road, a process which is ongoing, with the establishment of indigenous trees and vegetation.

The rehabilitation process is also being utilised for research purposes, with NMMU and Sanparks working in partnership to test and assess the success of different types of rehabilitation processes.

The civil works were managed by Aurecon South Africa (Pty) Ltd, with civil contractor WJ Civils, proving their mettle, ensuring that the project was completed with the least possible inconvenience, and without any injury or mishap to students, staff and other road users.

More details on the names of the residences

  • Phoenix: Phoenix reclinata (botanical), Wild date palm (Eng), Wilde dadelpalm (Afr)
  • Kamassi: Gonioma kamassi (botanical), Knysna boxwood (Eng), Kamassie (Afr); originates from Khoi language
  • Umdoni: Syzygium cordatum (botanical), Water berry (Eng), Waterbessie (Afr)

Opening of the new residences on George Campus

A delighted Anathi Masebeni, Chairperson of the NMMU George Student Council (left) with Prof Derrick Swartz, NMMU Vice-Chancellor; Dr Quinton Johnson, NMMU George newly-appointed Campus Principal; and Dr Sibongile Muthwa, NMMU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Institutional Services during the official opening of three new student residences and new roads at NMMU George Campus on 11 April.

Contact information
Ms Alet van Tonder
Manager: Marketing & Corporate Relations
Tel: 27 44 801 5098