Private schooling group AdvTech is investigating the potential to build a new private university in the new Sibaya Coastal Precinct on KwaZulu Natal’s north coast.
The as yet unnamed university is reportedly expected to accommodate 10,000 students, and forms part of development’s investment portfolio, which is estimated to be well over R50 billion.
The Sibaya precinct is one of several new city developments being spearheaded by Tongaat Hulett, envisioned as a living, vibrant community that builds around the region’s natural beauty.
It is set to be predominantly residential – with approximately 9‚000 homes and apartments, including luxury estate living.
The fully-realised development will also contain offices, shops, restaurants, educational institutions and recreational opportunities and more to complement the residential offering.
It will include 500‚000 square metres of commercial property – retail and office space, schools‚ universities, health and retirement, together with hotel, recreational, leisure and tourist related options.
Development of the Sibaya Coastal Precinct is expected to take around 15-20 years.
AdvTech said that the establishment of a tertiary institute in the region is still very much in the proposal stages, and no confirmation of costs, development times or function could yet be discussed.
“We can confirm that AdvTech is investigating the establishment of a school in the region, and that The Independent Institute of Education, the largest private higher education provider in South Africa and a brand of AdvTech, is investigating a number of opportunities to establish a new campus for its highly respected Varsity College and Vega brands,” the group said.
“The aim is to develop institutions that will benefit students, provide greater access to quality education opportunities in the area, and which will ultimately benefit the communities in which they are established.
“However, a great deal of work must still take place before we can confirm any final decisions or details related to these investigations,” it said.
According to reports, residents of the coastal village are not enamoured with the idea of a university, raising fears that an influx of students will disturb the peace, and devalue properties.
Of the 10,000 students expected to be accommodated by the university, 3,000 are anticipated to be ‘live-in’ – outnumbering the community of a couple of thousand residents in the nearby Umdloti Beach.
Concerns over traffic issues have also been raised.
While AdvTech had reportedly earmarked a location close to the village entrance for the university (Node 5), residents have complained and requested that it be moved, due to potential traffic issues.
In a recent update, the Sibaya developers noted that the university will be moved closer to the Sibaya Casino (Node 3), where much of the infrastructure need is already in place.
Along with the proposed university, AdvTech will also be looking to open a private school in the area which will accommodate around 2,000 students, expected to open in 2020.