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Accommodation prices to remain unchanged this year thanks to energy savings

Extensive reconstruction awaits the Kounicova dormitory, and new beds are being created in the renewed area on Vinařská Street.

Masaryk University is seeing the first tangible results of the cost-saving measures introduced during this academic year whose purpose was to optimize energy efficiency and overall consumption. Thanks to reduced energy consumption accommodation prices will not increase anymore during this calendar year.

As the current data from the final days of the heating season shows, the university has managed to reduce energy consumption by 10–15% which, due to current prices, translates into savings. 

“It is a pleasant surprise as well as an unexpected reward. I am glad our students and employees did their part by being mindful and respectful. Thanks to their attitude and mild winter, as well as the improving situation in terms of energy, we concluded that it is not necessary to increase the prices of accommodation by ten percent since July as originally announced. It is evident that this approach has paid off and that the issue of sustainability can have positive results,” Rector Martin Bareš said.

Masaryk University was forced to increase accommodation prices due to economic circumstances. Last year Accommodation and Catering Services (SKM) paid CZK 56 million on energy and utilities alone, twice as much compared with 2021. The prices of maintenance-related materials increased by 80% due to inflation, as did the costs of maintenance of buildings due to their old age (by 20%). The prices of materials and services increased this year as well, at least by the 15% inflation rate. 

The year 2019 saw the last accommodation price increase, with the exception of the Vinařská hall of residence (19% increase in 2021). In September 2022 the prices increased by 34%, with the exception of the Vinařská hall of residence (11%). As of February the prices were adjusted for the 15% inflation as per the contractual conditions. As a result, the price per night increased, between CZK 33 (bed in a five-person room) and CZK 100 (single room).

As of 1 July 2023, there will be a new triple room at the Mánesova hall of residence, replacing the original room with four beds. The difference between the original four-bedroom and the new triple room amounts to CZK 22 per bed and night. 

The maintenance of nine dormitory locations, most of which are very old, is challenging in terms of technical issues and cost. However, dormitories are among Masaryk University’s priorities. It invests tens or hundreds of millions each year into renovations, repairs and reconstructions. Large-scale reconstructions must be planned carefully in order to avoid disruptions of capacities for student accommodation. Scheduled to begin this year is the renovation of the Kounicova hall of residence. The commencement of the reconstruction is subject to the approval of an investment project within the framework of Programme 133 220 “Development and renovation of material and technical facilities of public universities”. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic will announce the results of the call during April. Due to SKM’s operating losses the renovation is financed by MU. 

The initial stage of the works will take place at the high-rise building close to the Faculty of Law, with 289 rooms with 570 beds. Amounting to CZK 250 million, the reconstruction will include the interior and new plumbing and other utilities, giving students the increased comfort of en-suite toilets and bathrooms. In addition to the renovated interior the reconstruction shall address an issue with the structural integrity of the building. 

Recently the Vinařská hall of residence has been massively renovated for CZK 100 million. Rooms have new electrical installation and flooring. This renovation also included new furniture and renovated kitchenettes. SKM will also transform former hotel rooms offered on a commercial basis into student rooms, thereby increasing the number of beds by 121 in 54 rooms. 

“It is important that students may influence the operations of their dormitories through student boards. Board members have information on repairs, renovations as well as prices,” says SKM director Kamil Kulíšek. These boards are typically elected in September. Pursuant to a decision by the accommodation committee, extraordinary elections are now taking place for the boards at the Vinařská, Mánesova, Bří Žůrků and Sladkého halls of residence which current have no boards.