If you were to visit the University in Launceston as a returning member of the alumni community, you would see some exciting changes.
Crossing the river from the city using the new pedestrian and cycle footbridge, you’d notice students playing basketball, local kids on the rock-climbing wall and playing table tennis in the new Esk Activity space. As an outdoor classroom, it’s the perfect learning environment for Exercise and Sports Science and our future Health and Physical Education teachers to thrive.
As your journey continues, you’d come across a series of raised garden beds, tanks collecting rainwater from the historic industrial rooflines, a glass house and composter to repurpose food waste from around the precinct, with people of all ages learning how to grow, harvest and prepare local produce together.
After grabbing a coffee on your way into the new Library, you notice students have made the ground floor their second home. It’s open until midnight for everything from quiet study to public talks and alumni gatherings. The community are welcome to borrow books as they wish, collaborate with events and share knowledge and stories of days gone by.
Looking down, you’d notice the striking creations of Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Caleb Nichols-Mansell who was commissioned to design feature carpets for the building’s interior.
A proud and deep connection to Country and culture is the inspiration underpinning Caleb’s resulting pieces – each anchored by kanamaluka, the nearby Tamar River.
“Growing up in Launceston, I spent a lot of time exploring and connecting to Country. There was always something mystical about this waterway that drew me in; it was like an energy,” Caleb said.
“It was important that I brought kanamaluka from outside into the campus and told the story of how it supported our old people and still connects and supports our community today.”
Walking back outside, you are reminded of the major transition that’s still to come. A local workforce of tradies and apprentices is deep into construction on the next two buildings, to create spaces for hands-on learning experiences which connect with the region’s imminent workforce needs.
The River’s Edge building is due for completion in early 2023, with incredible views east up the North Esk and towards the mountains. It will be home to Humanities, Social Sciences, Law and Education, plus student counselling, accessibility and learning support, and our Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education. It includes a hub for students studying Higher Degrees by Research, a recording studio, parenting room and variety of classrooms and computer labs.
In 2024, the final building will complete our transition of students and staff to Inveresk – The Shed at Willis Street, which sits south of the river.
The Shed is the largest and most complex build, as it includes a variety of specialised allied health clinics, science labs and nursing simulation rooms. These purpose-built facilities support the delivery of new courses to meet the needs of Tasmania, including a new fast-track Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons), Masters in Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, Clinical and Professional Psychology.
Already, the expanded Masters program has allowed a new supervised clinic to open to the public in Launceston, enabling more people to receive much needed mental health services. Located at the University’s Newnham Campus, the new clinic began offering appointments from July, and is expected to see 20-30 clients each week.
With its main entrance opposite City Park, new spaces in The Shed will enable community health education programs for children and older adults, professional development workshops, sports science testing and wellbeing initiatives.
It also includes Launceston’s first fully accessible adult changing facilities, plus parenting rooms, all-gender toilets and a nutrition bar style takeaway café. All are available for public use. In keeping with the rest of the new buildings, The Shed will have a large central atrium for public activities and community events.
We look forward to welcoming alumni to check out the progress of our new campus at Inveresk, by visiting Transforming our University, or joining one of our Community Walks (register via Eventbrite) where you can wander and discover the changes for yourself.
Written by Chelsea Wingrove for Alumni Magazine Issue 53, 2022.
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Top of page: River’s Edge building overlooks the North Esk, with use of Tasmanian timber throughout. Image: Chelsea Wingrove