University of Canberra proposes 496 extra beds in $41m student housing proposalAn artist's impression of the proposed Cooper Lodge 2 at the University of Canberra. Photo: Supplied

University of Canberra proposes 496 extra beds in $41m student housing proposal

Almost 500 extra students will be accommodated on-campus at the University of Canberra if a proposed $41 million housing project goes ahead.

The university has lodged a development application for a 353-apartment building on Telita​ Street, to be known as Cooper Lodge 2.

If approved, the building, consisting of an eight-storey main component and a seven-storey annex, will contain 496 student beds.

The ground floor would have space for retail outlets and other facilities.

Complementing the existing UniLodge-run Cooper Lodge next door, the complex would provide a major boost to on-campus residential capacity as early as the first semester in 2017.

A University of Canberra spokeswoman said the project would help meet growing demand for on-campus accommodation.

“[Students] will not only be close to their learning spaces, they will also enjoy the growing amenities the campus has to offer, making it an even more vibrant place to be,” she said.

Aside from the 416 beds at the first Cooper Lodge, the university’s on-campus resources include 1334 beds at the University of Canberra Village, while another 480 are located at nearby Weeden​ Lodge.

According to the development application, the accommodation would be composed mostly of standard studio apartments, with the remainder of the rooms dedicated to deluxe studios or five-bedroom apartments.

Some 16,000 internal students were enrolled at the University of Canberra in 2015.

The application includes the extension of the Pantowora​ Street car park to replace parking spaces lost during construction.

Last year the university followed the Australian National University’s lead in guaranteeing accommodation for international students and first-year domestic students.

The guarantee gives eligible students a place in on-campus accommodation, though it will not necessarily be the first choice of students.

The proposal comes amid reports of students struggling to find affordable and centrally located housing in the capital.

Construction is expected to begin immediately after the application is approved, with the university hopeful it will be operational by December 2016.

Public comment on the application is open until December 30.

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