Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Police to boost occupancy at university halls

Published:Wednesday | August 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
The newly renovated Irvine Hall at UWI Mona campus in Kingston.

A 138 Student Living Jamaica representative said Monday that 300 police recruits will boost occupancy levels at its new halls every six months, following a new deal struck between the University of the West Indies and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

"That is why the UWI increased accommodation levels, to give itself this kind of flexibility," said Enith Williams, a director of 138 Student Living, who also noted that accommodations at the newly expanded Irvine Hall were oversubscribed.

"We are actually turning away people," Williams said.

138 Student Living is UWI's hall development partner. The company has concessions to build and expand residential halls at the UWI, Mona. Irvine Hall was its most recent project completed this summer.

UWI, Mona signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Constabulary Force to facilitate the training of police recruits over a three-year period, as the JCF moves to grow its ranks the current 11,000 to a desired 14,000 members. The recruits will reside and receive training on the Mona campus.

UWI noted that the JCF currently has an attrition rate of some 500 police officers, annually.

Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, deputy principal at the university who speaks on student matters, could not be reached for an explanation of the financing arrangements for the accommo-dation to be provided. Williams said training would last for six months for each cohort of 300 police recruits.

The student housing company, which listed as a start-up three years ago, is showing improved results in its most recent earnings report. For the nine months ending June, Student Living's net profit spiked more than 200 per cent to $30.48 million over nine months.

That's a full turnaround from a loss of $27.96 million for the similar period in 2016.

The company was established in 2014 to construct and rent 1,500 rooms in new living facilities at the University of the West Indies under concession. Its subsidiary 138SL Restoration Limited, holds the concession for the restoration and reconstruction of traditional halls on the campus.

The cost of renovating Irvine Hall was reported at $2 billion. The company said in a release that the renovation of the Hall was completed on time and within budget. The renovation grew the accommodations from 260 rooms to 432.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com