A library building and pedestrian bridge through Launceston's "new street" will form stage one of the University of Tasmania's four-stage construction of its Inveresk campus.
UTAS has revealed the highly anticipated updated master plan for the $260 million campus and committed to a development application being submitted to the City of Launceston council by the end of June.
The total cost of the project will still be within UTAS' original investment of $260 million, but with expected investment in future student accommodation and the Australian Maritime College defence precinct, the university is poised to spend more than $300 million in Launceston.
As previously hinted at, the campus will be a staged construction, a move designed to maximise the ability of local industry and construction workforce participation, vice chancellor Rufus Black said.
"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," he 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."
The first stage will be the pedestrian bridge from the Willis Street site, to connect Boland Street with Inveresk, along with the construction of the library and student services building.
The library building will be located in front of the Annexe Theatre building and next to the "stone building" that currently houses creative arts and the Academy Gallery.
"This is a thoughtfully designed building that will nest within the existing buildings and roof lines of Inveresk," he said.
"It speaks to and respects the industrial heritage around it through its form and materials, but it is a thoroughly modern and exciting building that will serve the needs of today's students and those of tomorrow."
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Professor Black said the design was "highly sympathetic" to the existing architecture and took cues from the site and existing buildings at the precinct.
"It's the beginning of activating what will become a university square, which captures the fact that we've already got theatre and architecture on the site," he said.
"It fills in this corner and fitting into the existing fabric of the buildings here and it starts to create a key area where we can focus activity."
Professor Black said the updated master plan was centred around an "activated street" or central spine that brings students and the community from the city, at Boland Street, across to a pedestrian-friendly campus.
A new feature of the updated master plan is the reveal of where car parking will be located on the site.
Professor Black said UTAS was in the process of purchasing half of Glebe Farm to create a 500-space car parking lot to service the campus.
Students and visitors to the site will be able to access the car park via an existing pedestrian bridge off the car park, or can walk around to the bridge proposed for stage one on Willis Street.
Car parking and traffic emerged as key issues as part of UTAS community consultation sessions it held after revealing the first master plan last year.
Professor Black said those community concerns had become central to a partnership between UTAS and the council with regards to the site.
"It will keep traffic off Invermay Road and the bridges and enable the pedestrianisation of the campus."
A key tenet of the new campus is the development of a pedestrian-friendly student and community "spine".
The spine will run from the new pedestrian bridge from the Willis Street site to the Architecture building and through the to-be developed "urban realm".
The urban realm will be the community hub of the precinct and will include landscaping and a sporting green and other community spaces.
It will be located on half of what is now the circular car park at Inveresk with the other half to still be parking.
New student accommodation has been proposed in the master plan to complement the existing on-site accommodation.
Professor Black said the accommodation had been designed as separate "townhouses" and would cater for between 20-40 students in each "house".
Students would have communal facilities and the townhouses have been located at the Willis Street site and adjacent to the new library building.
Professor Black said the provisions for student accommodation would house all the existing accommodation at Newnham.
"If you want a vibrant campus you want students all there right through the day," he said.
"We want to build to the scale and character of the city buildings, which is why we've gone for these smaller student buildings like houses on a street."
He said the university had moved away from "monolithic structures" that had previously been the mould for student accommodation to encourage student communities.
UTAS has also committed to establishing student accommodation in the city as the next phase of the plan.
"We are confident in the growth of student numbers."
Accommodation will be funded in partnership with the private sector with an estimated investment of $54 million.
A development application for stage one of the campus development will be in to the council by the end of June, Professor Black said.
UTAS has been working closely with the council and the state government to ensure its project was supported, which Professor Black said they were proud of.
In addition, UTAS will seek a planning scheme amendment to allow for the other stages to proceed.
"The first building doesn't require a planning scheme amendment so we can get going on that right away," Professor Black said.
Part of the land gifted to UTAS by the council will also be returned to the council. The land is close to UTAS stadium but is not needed for the campus development.
"Where you get parts of a city with a critical mass of people is where you get life," he said.
"This is about focus and there is land that isn't needed so we can give that back to council."
Construction on stage one is expected to start in the first half of next year, with the building ready for students by the end of 2021.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Community information sessions will be held at Station Cottage, Inveresk, where members of the public can chat with the campus project team about the redevelopment. The sessions will be held on: June 29 between 10am and noon; July 2, from 4-6pm and July 3 from 11am until 1pm.
Professor Black said in addition industry information sessions were also being held.
Feedback will also be welcome as part of the official planning and development process.