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The Makers Technology and Innovation Hub
Makers’ Workshop is becoming an exciting technology and innovation hub that builds on our region’s history of making and features its strengths in ‘modern making’.
The University is introducing a new range of learning, research and industry projects at the site focused on supporting technology, manufacturing, design, innovation, and food production in the North-West. This will be enabled by bringing together our Tech Solutions Hub, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), a new Business Incubator, and a public demonstration space inside.
The building will be open to the community on a programmed basis and there will be ‘making-focussed’ events and activities on offer, enabling people of all ages to see and experience technology and innovation from the region.
Frequently asked questions
In 2021, Burnie City Council ceased its tourism operations on site – the Visitor Information Centre and Creative Paper Mill. This changed the traditional tourism-based business model of Makers’ Workshop. With little visitation, the retail shop, café, and the Makers’ program, could not be sustained. Burnie City Council continues to own the building, and the University - as the last remaining tenant of Makers’ Workshop - has been careful in considering the future use of the site. We were aware of the need for Makers’ to continue connecting with the community and for future activities to be true to the proud and extensive history of ‘making’ in the North-West. The future Makers is aimed at demonstrating and supporting the technology and innovation that our region is known for – agricultural technology, specialised manufacturing, and entrepreneurship in small business.
The technology and innovation focus of the new Makers’ involves:
- The Tech Solutions Hub which conducts training for local people and industry projects in technology, design and specialised manufacturing.
- The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) which will be undertaking laboratory science and developing agricultural technology on-site addressing regional food production and processing challenges.
- A Business Incubator led by the Cradle Coast Authority, supported by the Tasmanian Government, and aimed at assisting aspiring local entrepreneurs, start-ups, and existing small businesses.
- A demonstration space showcasing technology from the region and hosting activities and events for the public
Over the period that Makers’ Workshop has been closed, much planning, preparation, and stakeholder and industry discussions have been underway. Burnie City Council has approved a change of use application for the site (from tourism to education), along with a Development Application for minor external works. The detailed floor plans and interior design have been finalised, and the project has now gone out to tender. The next steps will be appointing a contractor and seeking a building permit to commence the interior refurbishment. Depending on the contractor’s availability, we hope this work can begin in early 2023. The tendering, refurbishment and transition process will take considerable time and we expect The Makers to be fully operational in its new form later in 2023. Until the next chapter begins, the building will remain temporarily closed. We are repurposing as much of the existing furniture as possible. Any surplus furniture will be made available to the community.
The Makers will reopen to the public on a programmed basis. Businesses and primary producers will be able to access training and participate in technology and design projects, while the demonstration space will allow community members to see and experience displays of technology relevant to our region during a programmed event. We plan to involve schools and community organisations and have a schedule of activities that everyone can participate in. Coffee and food options will be available nearby at the publicly-accessible café on the ground floor of the adjacent university campus building. Reopening in February 2023, the café will be operated by Burnie Community House as a social enterprise.
The refurbishment is being funded entirely by the University. This activity forms part of our continued commitment to make West Park a vibrant community and educational precinct that offers unique and regionally-distinctive learning experiences that can be enjoyed by all.
Yes, the Makers building is still owned by Council. The University is leasing the space and pays rates for its presence and operations at West Park.
The refurbishment is happening so we can bring the building’s new functions to life. The new Makers will be fitted out with state-of-the-art labs where TIA will be conducting leading agricultural research, as well as collaborative spaces for the Business Incubator where ideas can be developed and progressed. Modifications also need to be made to host contemporary manufacturing technology and equipment that will come with the Tech Solutions Hub, and new working environments for staff who will be based on site. Minor alterations will be made to the building’s façade and also to the loading dock area to include outdoor storage areas and fencing.
Parking will continue being available west of the Makers building and there will be additional spaces in the nearby site user car park, currently under construction north of the campus building. We are working with Burnie City Council to transform the eastern car park into a landscaped park area which can be enjoyed by the community while creating an attractive connection between The Makers and the city centre.
Absolutely. New operators and entrepreneurs from the region can participate in development programs and progress their ideas in the Business Incubator led by the Cradle Coast Authority. It will feature co-working spaces, business mentoring and training. This will not only help new local businesses develop but will also contribute to future local jobs and economic prosperity. Tech Solutions Hub and TIA staff will continue to engage with business and industry to help solve industry problems and provide people with the skills needed across our region’s workforce. Industry, business and community members can also participate in learning programs and public events. Industry briefings are continuing to be held. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you would like to connect and learn more.
Much consideration has gone into this. It’s been important for any name change to reflect making, the heritage of Makers’ Workshop, and Burnie as the City of Makers. However, the ‘workshop’ element of handmade making has changed. Hence, the new Makers’ Workshop is being called The Makers Technology and Innovation Hub. This retains its well-known name, reflects the ‘modern making’ of the technology and innovation featured in the building, and respects its past of artisan making.
The role that Makers’ Workshop played in the arts and artisan ‘making’ will be progressed a short distance away at Burnie City Council’s new Cultural Centre located in the heart of the CBD. The paper mache figures will be temporarily retained in their display cases inside the building before moving to the new Cultural Centre once it has been completed.
We host regular community walks at West Park where you can discover the new campus building while learning about plans for the new Makers and other site progress. We’ll be resuming this series in 2023 and everyone is welcome. Follow our Facebook page for upcoming dates.
Artist impressions of the new Makers:
Cradle Coast campus
We’ve opened our brand-new waterfront campus at West Park in Burnie - a place of learning, cultural and recreational activities for many decades. Here, you’ll get to make the most of interactive learning in our immersive teaching rooms, connect with your peers in social spaces, and be part of a vibrant community precinct.
Discover the new campus facilities during an upcoming community walk at West Park
The campus – known as the Field Building – is distinctive to the Cradle Coast. Its shape reflects the headlands that stretch along the rugged Bass Strait coastline, while the green roof speaks to the rich North West landscapes. The Domestic Arts building - the last surviving structure from the original Burnie High School - lives on as an important feature of the campus, honouring the history of the site while celebrating its future.
Enjoy the neighbouring beach and boardwalk between classes, or head downtown to check out the nearby shopping district.
As part of our city move, we’ve been introducing an exciting range of courses that serve the region and allow people from our community to study closer to home.
Features of the new campus
The $52 million campus was co-designed with input from the community, students and staff, and funded through contributions from Local, State and Federal Governments as well as the University. You’ll find:
- Contemporary teaching and learning environments
- State-of-the-art nursing simulation labs
- Gathering spaces, including a central courtyard
- A bike storage, charging and repair facility available for community use
- Publicly accessible café and library
Our university also has a presence at several other sites across the North West and West Coast.
You’ll find our Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and Atrium Apartments at Mooreville Road. We also have the Tech Solutions Hub in the heart of South Burnie’s industrial precinct, while our Rural Clinical School (RCS) has two campuses in Burnie and Latrobe. TIA has research facilities at Elliott and Forthside, and we also support community-based study centres in Zeehan and Smithton.
West Park staged works
Contractor activity is continuing across sections of West Park to complete projects which include:
- Expanding the Little Penguin habitat and elevating the existing coastal path so the colony can access its new area
- Building a new $1.7 million band and community facility
- Transforming the railway corridor into a second pedestrian and bike path
- Building a car park for all site users that includes short-term visitor parking
- Final landscaping across the precinct
- Refurbishing Makers' Workshop into a new technology and innovation hub
Full completion of these remaining works is expected in the second half of 2023, and vehicle and pedestrian access may be impacted in some areas as activity progresses. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
New pedestrian and bike path:
Contractor activity is currently focussed on building the new shared pedestrian and bike path above the railway corridor. The path is due for full completion early in the New Year once an interlink has been created on the western side of the precinct connecting it to the existing coastal path. Once built, all pedestrian and bike access through West Park will temporarily transition to this route, providing ongoing public access through the site while the coastal path is temporarily closed. This is so a section of the path can be elevated to enable Little Penguin access below into their new habitat on the eastern side of the campus building, and so the remaining nearby works can be safely completed. Once all the remaining works are finished, there will be two community paths at West Park – the railway line path and the coastal path. Landscaping work around the railway corridor is also underway and expected to be finished by the end of January 2023.
Main car park update:
The University is building a new car park that will serve users of the whole West Park precinct. As a university that takes pride in leading positive, environmental change, it has always been important to deliver an option which reflects the community’s expectation that sustainability and the environment are prioritised at West Park. We are very appreciative of the community’s patience while we have been trialling our two preferred low-carbon surfacing products. Unfortunately, these failed testing, so we are now proceeding with an alternative option called Reconophalt. It’s a sustainable type of asphalt comprising waste items that include plastic bags, toner cartridges, crushed glass, tyre rubber and recycled asphalt from end-of-life roads. Construction of the car park will resume in February and is expected to be complete in April. During this time, there may be changes and impacts to pedestrian access in order to maintain community safety as contractors undertake this work. Further information will be shared here, and through on-site signage.
Remaining staged works:
The remaining works include regenerating and expanding the Little Penguin habitat, elevating the foreshore path to enable penguin access below into the colony’s new habitat, and final landscaping. Our estimated timelines for the remaining project stages are:
- Landscaping around the railway corridor:
Now underway and due for completion by the end of January
- Car park construction:
February – April 2023
- Other landscaping:
March – August 2023
- Completion of the new band and community facility and dismantling of existing rooms:
From March 2023
The University commenced construction in July 2021 on a new $1.7 million band and community facility that is being built for Burnie City Council on the western side of West Park. The estimated completion date is late March 2023.
While the car park is being completed, alternative parking arrangements are in place. Some existing parking areas at West Park are being temporarily reserved for permit holders between Monday – Friday, 7.30am – 4pm. Outside of these hours, visitors are welcome to utilise the parking spaces unless they are signed otherwise. Parking is reserved for users of The Point in its adjacent car park, and there is dedicated visitor parking for the University’s Field Building opposite the western campus entrance. These temporary arrangements will continue until construction of the main car park has been completed. In line with our development approval, parking at West Park will only be available for users of the precinct’s facilities - city commuter parking is not returning.
Contractor activity at West Park:
- Working days: Monday - Friday (excluding public holidays), with occasional weekend work
- Working hours: 7am - 5.20pm