by Michelle Solomon
The problem of student accommodation at Rhodes has finally been realised, and with the construction and opening of Celeste House, an effort has been made to house more students on campus. Unfortunately however, one residence is not going to offer the housing needed by many attending and prospective students. “After cutting this ribbon, I wish I could cut six more. That is the number of residences we need to accommodate all our first years” said Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Saleem Badat, at the official opening of Celeste House on Tuesday, February 6. The first co-ed residence at Rhodes, Celeste house was adapted from an existing block of flats and can house 51 students – a number not nearly large enough to make inroads on the waiting list for student accommodation. Together with the opening of Celeste House, work commenced on building two more residences joining Kimberly Hall. Director of Residence Operations Dr Iain L’Ange has confirmed the building of the residences, one of which will be male and the other female. The opening of new residences causes various administration problems however, and students of Drostdy Hall have experienced this in the form of over-crowding in the dining hall. “Sometimes the line is out the main doors and down the stairs outside – it’s ridiculous,” says Anzet du Plessis. Du Plessis says “the dining hall is only meant for four reses, but now there are five and an annex,” and continues “It’s just so frustrating to go to lunch and then stand in a queue for who knows how long.” Due to the long-standing housing dilemma, Rhodes will have to build two new residences each year for the next three years in order to deal with the growing number of students. According to Badat’s “Vision for Rhodes”, the education ministry would like to see “exponential growth” at Rhodes. Due to the new subsidy system, Rhodes needs to grow between 2 and 3% annually in order to maintain financial stability. The growth of Rhodes has several implications for Grahamstown, and these will have to be addressed over the next ten years.