Uni’s $950m building plans

Iveresk 2

An artist’s impression of the University of Tasmania’s northern
campus development at Inveresk in Launceston.

The University of Tasmania is creating a massive economic boost for Tasmania with $950 million of development under way or in advanced planning.

UTAS will soon make a decision to spend $600 to $700m to refurbish its Sandy Bay campus or sell the millions-plus dollar property and re-build in the Hobart CBD or nearby.

Projects include the new $300m Launceston campus, for which the master plan was recently released; the STEM project in Hobart CBD ($400m building support), Burnie campus ($50m, supported), as well as student accommodation sites in Inveresk, Launceston, North Hobart and Argyle St ($150m plus).

Real estate agents won’t put a dollar figure on the value of the Sandy Bay site, but suggest the millions of dollars raised by selling would make a contribution towards the cost of a new campus.

Agents said the UTAS property, which stretches from Sandy Bay Rd up to Mt Nelson, is covered by one planning zone which includes the recreation areas, education buildings and management building.

Agents say rezoning would be extremely sensitive and complicated with UTAS having to work closely with the Hobart City Council before a departure from Sandy Bay and also having to seek assistance from the HCC for a new campus in the city.

While UTAS relies on funding from all levels of government, it is paying its way to ensure developments that provide more modern approaches to education. The impact of the UTAS developments were highlighted recently.

The Launceston launch of the UTAS master plan of the new Inveresk campus by Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen also included Treasurer Peter Gutwein, Federal Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor and Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten.

Mr Rathjen said it was a major step in Launceston’s history and the first step of transforming Launceston into a “University City”.

Apart from an additional 220 new academic and supporting positions, UTAS is also contributing $60.5m toward the project along with $130m from the Federal Government and $65m from the State Government and the Launceston City Council.

On the day of the Launceston launch a report on the benefits of a $400m STEM centre in the Hobart CBD was a key to a project expected to add 3000 students and some 700 staff.

Nodes at the Launceston and Burnie campuses will share the benefits of knowledge throughout the state.

The report from Nous Group, engaged by the UTAS, said the Hobart precinct would bring together the IMAS building, the Medical Science (Menzies) Centre, the Creative Exchange Institute proposed for 2019 and a STEM centre in Melville St into a centralised education hub.

However, the project is in competition for funding with a $490 million Bridgewater bridge project to overcome the bottle necks on a narrow historic bridge.

The Federal Government has said the state and southern councils have to make the decision on which project they support because there won’t be funding for both.

HCC and other southern councils are expected to support the STEM project but the State Government and broader community are yet to decide.

Apart from the UTAS announcements, July 2017 will be remembered as the infrastructure month with major developments throughout the state including:

  • • MONA’s $300m hotel/ casino development at Rosetta;.
  • • a $100 million Table Cape resort approved by Waratah-Wynyard Council; and
  • • a $280 million Wind Farm at Granville Harbour on the West Coast.

By Editor Tom Omeara

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