Villa Maria Hostel closes - Jan 2006

The Cullinane College Hostel is set to close in response to plummeting numbers of students needing a place to live.
Villa Maria Hostel won’t reopen later this month when the school year begins because low numbers of students enrolled in the hostel have made it unviable.
Villa Maria Hostel spokesman Hamish McKay said it was regretful “unforeseen” circumstances had forced the closure.
“It is with regret that unforeseen circumstances have forced the closure of the Villa Maria Hostel, which has been providing accommodation for a number of students attending Cullinane College,” Mr McKay said.
The Hostel was set up to provide accommodation for those students who lived outside the Wanganui district.  It was the vision of the Sisters of St Joseph that all young Catholics had access to affordable secondary education.
When St Augustine’s College and Sacred Heart merged in 2003 the hostel became co-educational and moved from Sacred Heart grounds to the present location at the end of that year.
“There has been a national decline in the number of students requiring boarding accommodation and this has been reflected in a fall in enrolments at the hostel,” he said.
“Coupled with an unexpected pulling out of several students since Christmas, the Villa Maria Hostel Trust has determined that there will be insufficient funds to meet running costs.”
He was unable to say how many students wanted to live at Villa Maria this year and were now homeless.
“We’re working very hard at the moment to find accommodation for them.”
Mr McKay wasn’t sure why there had been such a decline in demand for hostel living.
“It could be a social thing…maybe more parents want their kids to be at home,” he said.
Once the closure process is completed the Trust Board will give the site back to the owners who invested in it, the Sisters of St Joseph.
                                                Courtesy of Wanganui Chronicle 19/1/06

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