A STUDENT accommodation building of up to nine storeys is likely to be the second building in the University of Newcastle’s long-term Honeysuckle campus plan, the university says.
At a community information session at Newcastle City Hall on Thursday evening – to be repeated on Saturday between 10am and noon – university staff and consultants answered questions from the public relating to a series of display boards covering aspects of the plan.
As the Newcastle Herald has reported, the university announced its intention to build on two hectares at Honeysuckle in December 2016.
It will lodge a master plan for the site as early as next month, and lodge a development application for the first building, an innovation hub and space for the School of Creative Industries, later in the year.
The first $25-million innovation hub/creative industries building, dubbed A1, would go up on the corner of Honeysuckle Drive and Worth Place.
At the information session, university spokespeople stressed that the plans on display were “indicative” and “proposals” only, but no buildings would exceed the height limit of 30 metres.
But as things stood, the next building would probably be building B, for student accommodation – marked as nine storeys – followed by the rest of the buildings.
These would be erected in stages, generally moving east from Worth Place along rail corridor land behind the Chifley Apartments and Wine Selectors, with the final building across (and behind) Hunter Street from NeW Space.
Apparently encouraged by the success of NeW Space despite early controversy about it only having nine car parking spaces, the university is now confidently promoting public transport as the main access to the Honeysuckle campus.
It says the campus is halfway between the Honeysuckle light rail stop, at the plaza next to the TAFE building west of Union Street, and the stop at Civic. No spot on the campus would be more than 500 metres walk from either light rail stop.
With a nod to concerns about construction disruption in Newcastle, the university says “at this stage it is not anticipated that the stage 1A works will impact on CBD transport services”.
The university is also keen to emphasise the indigenous and colonial heritage of the site, and specialist consultants have been appointed to advise how to best integrate “heritage interpretation aspects” into the campus design.
It plans to incorporate “remnants” of the historic Honeysuckle rail turntable in the “open space of the campus heart”.
Engineers Australia says a brick pit at the base of the 1850s turntable was rediscovered during archaeological digs in the 1990s.