OIST Housing Project Reaches the Finish Line

The OIST housing project is completed, but there are already plans for more dwellings for OIST members.

The traditional handover ceremony, commemorating the completion of the five-year housing project at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), was organised by the developers and investors on 27 October 2015. It was a beautiful demonstration of the Japanese ability to combine traditions and cutting edge technologies in a harmonious mix. The ceremony was attended by OIST executives, contractors, and members of SPC (Special Purpose Company), which financed the construction of the OIST living quarters.

OIST on-campus housing comprises the President’s House, Hillside Faculty Houses, South Hill, West and East Courts, and the Village Center Apartments, 209 units in total. “The laboratories and other building were financed by the construction subsidy from the government, but for the housing project we decided to choose a public-private partnership (PPP) option. This was a challenging project, but we achieved our goal to provide good quality housing for better campus life,” says Mr Yasuaki Hidaka, Manager of the Campus Building Section who worked on the housing project from its very beginning.

The decision not to economise on construction costs paid off well. All materials and craftsmanship adhere to high standards. All houses and apartments have well-designed, spacious floor plans and plenty of sunlight. The amenities are up to par and provide comfortable living for tenants. Furniture, kitchen- and tableware may be rented by OIST members who come only for a short term, or who do not wish to invest in their own.

Living on campus is so popular that all units are completely occupied, even the ones that have been finished just recently, and there is likely to be a shortage soon. "We are thinking about limiting on-campus housing to students starting next year," confides Mr Ganjehlou, the Vice-President of the Buildings and Facilities Management Division.

The housing project is a huge success. Both the OIST Buildings and Facilities Management Division and investors are very happy with it and are planning to build more in the future. In the next 3-5 years more houses will be built, again financed by PPP. "We have learned a lot in the past five years and will keep at least the same high quality and standards for new buildings," says Mr Ganjehlou. However, there is no plan to provide dwellings for all OIST employees, students, and faculty members. "We want people to have a choice between on and off campus living," explains Mr Ganjehlou.

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