THE South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) has given the Durban University of Technology (DUT) a thumbs up for embarking on the construction of student accommodation at their Steve Biko campus. DUT and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) will pitch in for the R240 million construction cost. Since last November, preparations for construction has begun, with heavy-duty vehicles and material brought on-site. The expansion includes two dormitories at a cost of R120 million, able to accommodate 800 students. The roof of the Drama Studies Building will be replaced at a cost of R30 million, with R90 million being spent on additional lecture halls. Sasco KZN chairperson Dumo Ntyinkala said it was exciting to see DUT and DHET taking issues affecting the students seriously. Ntyinkala said the lack of sufficient and adequate on-campus housing has been a point of contention between university management and student leaders over the years. University spokesperson Snegungu Ndlovu cited the shortage of student accommodation near the campus as the main reason behind the construction of these two blocks of student residences at the Steve Biko campus. It is set for completion by 2015. “The residences will be four storeys high, feature double and single rooms and also accommodate paraplegic students. “The Drama Studies Building project is completely funded by DUT. The building was in a poor state and the entire roof will have to be replaced,” she said. Because the roof replacement will expose the ceiling and floor to the (weather) elements, the entire building will need refurbishing, she said. “This includes ceilings, the theatre, light fittings and ablution facilities.” For now, the department is being housed in the same building as the DUT Conference Centre at the Ritson campus. The construction is expected to be completed in April, with the extension of S-Block (lecture halls) in seven months. “The construction of the six extra lecture venues and seven computer laboratories, to be accommodated in a four-storey building for the faculties of engineering and the built environment as well as applied sciences, will replace the temporary venues currently set up in the basement,” Ndlovu said.