Since the mid-1980s, significant elements of the University of Tasmania have moved into Hobart’s inner city. That general shift in the gravity of the campus has now been consolidated in the form of a $600 million project.
The University Council decided in early April, following a period of conversation and consultation with staff and students, and feedback from key stakeholders, to develop a city-centric campus in the heart of Hobart over the next 10 to 15 years.
The campus will extend from the University’s original home at the Domain, returning a sandstone experience, along Melville Street, and be anchored with a central library and public square - the heart of the University - on the former Webster building and carpark.
The University will act as a steward for the existing Sandy Bay campus land into the future, knowing that it has an important part to play in the life and future Hobart.
To ensure it makes a fair contribution to the evolution of Hobart’s infrastructure and services as it moves into the city, the University has also proposed it make a compact with the City of Hobart which would deliver the equivalent (or more) of the general rate on its inner-city buildings for the next decade.
“This will be a long, thorough and deliberative process,” the University Chancellor, the Honourable Michael Field AC, said after the Council meeting. “We will consult carefully along the way to produce a campus which is a source of great pride for both our University community and the people of greater Hobart.”
In reaching this decision, the University weighed up two broad directions: the city-centric approach and a distributed model, under which ageing Sandy Bay operations would be redesigned and rebuilt in a smaller footprint on the lower part of the existing campus.
Staff and students were consulted about the two options, and they have been discussed with government and civic leaders.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black added: “We see a future campus in which there is a mix of built and green spaces, and of beautiful buildings that are highly permeable and inviting for both our staff, students and the broader community.”
The University has since announced the purchase of the K&D Warehouse site in Melville Street as the last major component of its southern campus strategy.
The K&D site will house student accommodation, funded through the University’s partnership with investment consortium Spark.
The site also will be home to green space and teaching and learning facilities.
This new student accommodation project will meet future demand for student accommodation, adding capacity to the existing 446-bed Hobart City Apartments (at the corner of Elizabeth and Melville streets) and a second 420-bed complex being built adjacent those, due for completion at the start of 2021.
For further information on the Southern Future project: www.utas.edu.au/southern-future