Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeOpinionCommentCampus improvements aplenty

Campus improvements aplenty

At the University, we are all proud and grateful to be custodians of such a wonderful place, and have borne that top of mind in making plans for the future. While we are lucky to work here, we are also well aware of the value and iconic status of both our buildings and our green space for the community around us, and for the city of Sydney.

I am delighted that the Minister for Planning recently granted approval for our Stage 1 Campus Improvement Program (CIP) as a “State Significant Development”. This means that it has been classed as having large-scale social and economic benefit to the state, and creates a great many jobs. Stage 2 of the CIP will involve the detailed design and approval of each new building, and we will be consulting with the community on every one of those plans.

For us, it means that we can continue to provide world-class education and research with state-of-the art facilities, while maintaining our responsibility to make our campus attractive, welcoming and accessible. This will include such facilities as a cycleway and a pedestrian network — useful for our students, our neighbours, and of course for maintaining environmental sustainability. Our strategy is ultimately to reduce our carbon footprint as much as we possibly can.

The University’s buildings are a somewhat eclectic mix, ranging from our earliest buildings, coinciding with our foundation in the 1850s, through to the recently completed Charles Perkins Centre and the soon-to-be-completed Business School in the Abercrombie Precinct.

As the University grows, and technology develops at lightning speed, we need to develop and renew our existing education and research facilities, from lecture theatres and classrooms through to laboratories and administration wings. It is also extremely important to expand the availability of affordable accommodation for students, and we are pleased that the CIP will include as many as 4,000 beds for domestic and international students.

Parking will be consolidated, and underground as much as possible. This will allow us to maximise public space. Traffic management and transport will be improved, with public transport able to be better integrated.

Our famous sandstone buildings will be protected and preserved, while six precincts will be created within the University, with a planned cultural precinct that will celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture and that will include a museum and exhibition centre. These, like our existing museums and galleries, will be open to the public.

All future building will be subject to a detailed Stage 2 application process and must be designed consistently with the State Significant Development approval requirements. Our Campus Infrastructure and Services team has begun the detailed design of a number of projects in alignment with the CIP. The community, of course, will have the opportunity to comment on the design of every new building.

Everyone at the University is excited by the plans for the future of our campus and the opportunity for renewal of Australia’s first and oldest university.

I thank you for your input into the development of our Campus Improvement Program and I look forward to working with you as we design exciting new infrastructure that will benefit all of us for decades — and centuries — to come.

 

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