PLANS to relocate the University of Tasmania’s Launceston campus to Invermay have been reimagined with the Northern Transformation project now worth $344 million.

Work is expected to start in the first half of next year with the project set for completion in 2024. The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce has echoed sentiments from UTAS that the development would be a cornerstone to revitalise the region. TCCI CEO Michael Bailey said there was a huge benefit of over $100 million in infrastructure being built in the city.

“The need for local contractors and impact on apprentice numbers for example is significant,” Mr Bailey said.

“The interaction of centres of excellence with business provides an opportunity to redefine the connection between industry and research. “And the benefit of thou-sands of students in the middle of Launceston is profound. University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said the campus was designed to deliver the aspirations of the university’s Northern Transformation Program – educating more Tasmanians and attracting students and staff to Launceston.

“The campus is designed for today’s students and life-long learning, so we can work with the community to lift educational attainment and address disadvantage,” Prof Black said.

“Our research facilities will enable us to partner with industry to grow their businesses and to see start-ups create more new jobs for the region.” Student accommodation on the campus and in the city, designed as clusters of small, townhouse-style buildings, will be funded in partnership with the private sector with an estimated investment of $54 million.

The Australian Government has also committed $30 million for a Maritime and Defence Innovation and Design Precinct at Newnham. From an original $260 million, the Northern Transformation in Launceston is now a project worth $344 million. After community feedback, the university’s new developments will be integrated within the site’s existing buildings.

Stage One includes the library, student experience building and footbridge across the North Esk. Construction is expected to start in the first half of next year, with the building ready for students by the end of 2021.

Stage Two, expected to be completed by early 2023, includes the learning and teaching building, stage three, which incorporates health, science and research building, is expected to be completed by early 2024.