Tasmanian construction firm Vos will be able to shore up its workforce in Northern Tasmania after securing the tender for part of the University of Tasmania's Inveresk campus.
Vos Constructions was awarded the tender for the library and student services building which, along with a pedestrian bridge, makes up the first stage of a three-stage build for the Inveresk campus.
Chief executive Kurt Jones said the company had had to lay off about 10 people across the state due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the significance of this tender was startling.
"It's a very important project for us and the industry; it [the project] comes at an amazing time for us because we've unfortunately had to stand people down recently due to COVID-19," he said.
Mr Jones said they had a number of projects that had stopped or stalled due to the pandemic, but had handled it through a combination of standing down staff and job-sharing.
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However, he said a project of this scale brought confidence back into the economy and guaranteed jobs for employees in the North.
Northern construction manager Brent Wilcox said work had begun on site, following piling and the installation of the footings.
He said up to 80 people could be at the site at one time and up to 100 people would be involved directly and indirectly in the build.
"We'll be coming in and laying foundation material and basically building it up from the slab up," he said.
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Mr Jones and Mr Wilcox said they were excited a Tasmanian firm had been able to win the tender and Vos would prepare tender bids for the second and third stages of the campus.
UTAS Northern pro-vice chancellor Dom Geraghty said the Northern Transformation construction project had not been impacted by the pandemic.
He said the new campus represented an opportunity to fulfill the university's goal of boosting Tasmania's education attainment.
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Professor Geraghty said UTAS had, like all other universities, been impacted by the virus because of international travel bans, which had reduced the number of international students but the Inveresk campus was helping propel the university to its new future, focusing on domestic students.
"The idea here is that it's a slow build up and we're looking at a variety of different types of courses and now we're going to have to completely rethink the type of courses that we offer remembering that the world is not going to return to normal, it's going to return to a new type of normal [post-pandemic]," he said.
The library and student services building is expected to be complete by the end of next year, with staged construction for the other parts of the campus.
The entire campus will be complete by the end of 2023, for students to arrive Semester 1, 2024.
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The announcement of the tender was attended by representatives from all levels of government, including Bass MHR Bridget Archer, Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson, Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten and Rosevears Liberal candidate Jo Palmer.
UTAS' Inveresk campus is funded through the Launceston City Deal, with contributions from the federal and state governments, along with the City of Launceston council and UTAS.
Construction of the pedestrian bridge across the North-Esk River was awarded to North-West engineering firm BridgePro.
The development applications for stages two and three of the campus, dubbed the river's edge and the Willis Street sites, will be lodged with the City of Launceston council by the end of June and the DA for an 850-space car park to the North of the campus has already been submitted to the council.