Featured News Townsville campus fire update: permanent accommodation arrangements

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Tue, 9 Apr 2019

Townsville campus fire update: permanent accommodation arrangements

Three female students, two holding bags and linen, smile for the camera in a corridor.
Sophie, Ciara and Lucy move in to NRL Cowboys House, where they will stay for the next two weeks. Photo: Bethany Keats, JCU Media.

Less than a week after a fire at JCU’s University Halls displaced 218 students, James Cook University is pleased to announce permanent accommodation arrangements for affected students.

Permanent accommodation will be provided at University Halls’ Clark Wing (formerly part of St Marks College), Saints Catholic College, and modular homes that will be set up on the Townsville campus.

  • 120 modular homes with air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms will be installed near Clark Wing. Installation works will begin within the next week, with the modular homes to accommodate 120 students. Students will not move back into blocks A and B of University Halls this year.
  • From Wednesday, 60 students will move into Clark Wing. Since Thursday, University staff have been working around the clock to refurbish Clark Wing. Rooms have been cleaned, new furniture provided where necessary, and new carpet and air conditioning installed throughout.
  • Around 100 students will be housed at NRL Cowboys House over the next two weeks. These students will gradually move to Clark Wing and other permanent accommodation as it becomes available.
  • The remainder of affected students will stay at Saints Catholic College.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding has thanked those who have worked so hard to ensure permanent accommodation arrangements are in place.

“This has been a very difficult time for those affected by the fire. I’d particularly like to thank NRL Cowboys House for generously providing temporary accommodation for our students.

“And I’d like to thank JCU staff who have been working tirelessly to look after the students and to put in place temporary accommodation, providing welfare support and assisting with insurance claims, while working towards more permanent accommodation arrangements, until the end of the year.

“We are most grateful to the broader community for the terrific way so many have rallied in support of our students. There have been so many acts of kindness, including outstanding support from the Red Cross. And Birch Carol and Coyle generously provided free tickets to a screening of Captain Marvel yesterday, with nearly 100 students taking them up on the offer,” Professor Harding said.

Other support provided to students includes:

  • The University has provided $300 emergency cash payments to affected students so they can purchase essential items. An additional $500 has been provided to students from Block A whose building was worst impacted by the fire, as an advance on insurance payments. Students from B block have been able to access their belongings.
  • A ‘pop up’ support centre at Education Central continues to provide support to affected students. The centre is providing assistance with counselling, academic support, emergency cash payments, replacement ID cards, and information about insurance claims.
  • Personal belongings damaged in the fire will be covered by the University’s insurance.
  • The Red Cross has also provided assistance including clothing, toiletries and pastoral care.

To arrange interviews:

Richard Davis

Head of Media and Communications, JCU

0413 451 475