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UTAS Unveils Draft Masterplan for City Switch

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Featured image above: an artist’s impression of the rejuvenated Forestry building in Melville St, one of the first buildings to be revamped for students and staff.  UTAS has unveiled a draft masterplan for its future campus in the centre of Hobart. The draft masterplan steps out the principles that people identified as being important in […]

Featured image above: an artist’s impression of the rejuvenated Forestry building in Melville St, one of the first buildings to be revamped for students and staff. 

UTAS has unveiled a draft masterplan for its future campus in the centre of Hobart.

The draft masterplan steps out the principles that people identified as being important in the delivery of a new campus: honouring place, sustainability, accessibility and community.

The campus will be set out along two spines, one roughly east-west and one north-south, and comprise five precincts: West End, Midtown, Medical, Domain and Wapping.

A University of Tasmania statement described the project:

This preliminary design of the Hobart campus honours the rich history and culture of Tasmania’s First People. It has a vibrant heart, respects the heritage of the city, and proposes green spines along Melville and Campbell streets. In workshops, and in broader community visioning processes, students, staff, and members of the community stressed the need for sympathetic, human-scale design that brings nature into the heart of the city.

The various developments proposed come with a total price tag of around $600 million, funded by the university itself which is able to take advantage of low interest rates.

The project will also see the creation of several new urban parks, with the university keen to improve inner city spaces.

In 2019, the University conducted workshops with University staff and the broader community to imagine how an inner-city campus could deliver student and staff experience, and enhance the qualities that people value in the city.

“We needed to pause last year because our focus was on meeting the challenges presented by COVID-19,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said. “We’re very appreciative of the efforts of our staff and students in doing that, and are now well placed to resume this process as a result.

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Chancellor Black said the university had listened to feedback and tried to understand public views about the move of the university into the city centre.

“The draft masterplan is not the end of a process,” he said. “It is the start of the next stage of the conversation about what we want our future to be.”

“We’ve listened carefully and what we’ve heard is how passionate people are about Hobart and the things that are special to them about the city,” Professor Black said. “We heard about the concerns people have with the University expanding its presence in the centre of the city – from challenges with transport and access to services to the nature of our workspaces.

“Just as importantly, we learned what people don’t want, and what we haven’t gotten right in the past. We have developed ideas about how to address these issues, which we are keen to get feedback on and to hear what other ideas people have.”

The Chancellor observed that transport solutions needed to improve to support the project, in particular the 1500 UTAS students who live in the northern suburbs and another thousand on the eastern shore.

“We look forward to working with the whole community around the future of transport in Hobart; this is a whole of community project,” he said. “And seeing those visions realised of a proper transport corridor to the north, of the bridge, having its bike lane, of the Derwent River ferry, a better Park and Ride, and a proper bike network…we look forward to working with everyone across the community to support those things to happen.”

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There would be a careful, staged 10-year transition between the current University operations at Sandy Bay and the CBD, with a focus on maintaining the quality of staff and student experience at both.

“Our next step is to get people’s feedback and reaction to the principles, our strategies and on the plan itself,” Professor Black said.

An artist’s impression of the Engineering and Technology buildings and public space proposed for the former K&D-site.

Sandy Bay Campus

The current core campus at Sandy Bay is going to be largely retained by UTAS, which envisions ‘a world-leading example of a sustainable urban community’ on the site.

Components  current proposal for the future of the Sandy Bay campus include:

“We’d be very confident given the Planning Scheme, that with a good masterplan, that rezoning when the time comes is a very achievable, objective,” said Chancellor Black about the Sandy Bay site.

The university is currently unable to say how many people will live in the new mini-suburb at the location, although numbers will emerge as the masterplan is further developed this year.”

“(We’ll be) making a greater mix of diverse housing available, I think it’ll be a very big long term help to be able to see that kind of housing development occurs so close into the city,” Chancellor Black said.

The draft masterplan can be found at www.utas.edu.au/southern-future.

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Members of the public can also explore the proposal and provide feedback at an exhibition in the foyer of the Hobart Apartments, corner of Melville and Elizabeth streets, which will be open from 9am tomorrow (Tuesday, 18 May 2021).

A similar exhibition space will be available at the Student Hub on the Sandy Bay Campus adjacent Lazenbys Café.

An artist’s impression of the Domain, once its heritage buildings are restored and in use by Psychology and Pharmacy.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/05/utas-unveils-draft-masterplan-for-city-switch/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=utas-unveils-draft-masterplan-for-city-switch

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