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Major redevelopment of UTAS Launceston campus approved

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today announced the federal government’s financial support for the redevelopment of the University of Tasmania’s campus in Launceston.

The prime minister made the announcement in Launceston as part of a visit to Tasmania ahead of state government elections in March and was joined by education minister Simon Birmingham and newly minted cities minister Paul Fletcher.

In 2015 the university revealed plans to consolidate its Launceston facilities into one campus. The move will relocate the bulk of its facilities from Newnham to Inveresk, which is closer to the city centre and home to the university’s School of Architecture and Design, designed by Six Degrees Architects and SBE, which was completed in 2007.

The masterplan for the new campus, by McBride Charles Ryan, was released in July 2017. It calls for the construction of three new buildings. One, near the University of Tasmania Stadium (formerly Aurora Stadium) on a site that formerly held a velodrome, will be a teaching and learning facility.

UTAS Launceston campus concept by McBride Charles Ryan. The "teaching and learning" centre is left, the "gateway" building right.

UTAS Launceston campus concept by McBride Charles Ryan. The “teaching and learning” centre is left, the “gateway” building right.

Image: McBride Charles Ryan.

To the south, on Invermay Road, a “gateway” building will be built near an existing student accommodation building. Further to the south, across the North Esk River, a science and innovation hub will be constructed on Willis Street, linked to the gateway building by a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.

The university said in a statement that it would open an expressions of interest process for the managing architect for the project “in a matter of days.”

The plan to consolidate the Launceston campus forms the core of the $260 million City Deal agreement between the federal government, the University of Tasmania, the Tasmanian state government and Launceston City Council. The Launceston deal is the third in a federal government scheme to trial a model of local government and industry-led development funding.

The federal government will provide $130 million toward to project, with the university to contribute $64.6 million, the state government $60 million and the City of Launceston $5.4 million.

During his Tasmanian visit the prime minister also signed a new City Deal agreement for Hobart.

This deal could include the relocation the University of Tasmania’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) faculties to the city’s CBD. Infrastructure Australia, a federal statutory advisory body approved the relocation and added the new campus to its Infrastructure Priority List in February 2017.

The Hobart plan could also include new light rail lines and an “Antarctic and science precinct” at Macquarie Point, according to the ABC. The University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, designed by John Wardle Architects and Terroir, is located on the opposite side of Sullivan’s cove from Macquarie Point.

Two other City Deals, in Townsville and Western Sydney, were announced along with Launceston in 2016. The Townsville deal includes funding for the planned North Queensland Stadium, designed by Cox Architecture and 9Point9. The Western Sydney deal, which has not yet been signed, will provide housing, infrastructure and services to support the development of the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.

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