Campus to bring more life to CBD

THE new $95million University of Newcastle campus on Hunter Street will have a 24/7 facility, and two city architectural firms are among four companies short-listed to snare the design contract.

As lord mayor Jeff McCloy and university vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen yesterday met on the site at the corner of Hunter and Auckland streets to mark the exchange of land contracts between the council and the university, it was also confirmed  the Hunter office of APP Corporation had been named  project manager of the campus.

Alan Tracey, the university’s director of infrastructure and facilities services, said King Street architects EJE, in a consortium with Melbourne-based Lyons, and Honeysuckle-based GHD, in partnership with national firm FJMT, were on the shortlist for the design work.

Neither Cr McCloy nor Professor McMillen would comment on the value of the land for the campus, to be known as NeW Space, but both said the relocation of the faculty of business and law to the site would boost the CBD’s revitalisation.

The design and development process is expected to take a year, with construction starting in 2015 and the campus expected to open for the first semester in 2017.

‘‘It’s a remarkable project for the university, it will really allow us to have a new space facility – we call it that because there will be new technology, new ways of learning and teaching, new programs delivered,’’ Professor McMillen said.

She said the new campus would have ‘‘demonstrator sites’’ for staff to experiment with new technologies to support students, ample digital and interactive learning resources and a focus on research.

‘‘We’ve got the opportunity with our business faculty to take and engage our research with the needs of our industry and business partners and to be able to shape solutions to issues that will help this region navigate the difficult economic transition ahead,’’ she said.

Professor McMillen said  the new campus, like University House, would have a 24/7 facility  for students who wanted increased study flexibility in a ‘‘safe, interactive learning environment’’. 

Cr McCloy said the new campus would bring more business to the Civic precinct and he expected the private sector to ‘‘get on board’’ to deliver more options for student accommodation.

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