Queensland’s biggest university is forging ahead with plans to build 1300 on-campus student beds in a masterplan to expand its main campus.
The University of Queensland is seeking approval for a staged development to build four connected buildings and an adjacent building, with hopes to have the first students move in late 2018.
The news comes as Queensland’s Property Council yesterday hosted the facilities managers of Brisbane’s three major universities to outline their investment plans, arguing that the institutions would be increasingly important for the property industry.
University of Queensland property and facilities director Alan Egan said the student accommodation stages would have varying styles but would allow for self-catering units around communal kitchens and living areas.
“We all know students living on campus have better outcomes,” he said.
“That is an established norm. There is better engagement with the institution, better company with peers, and study and research outcomes are higher.
“It’s a huge project. It’s going to be not just good for UQ but in terms of the construction industry in Brisbane.”
A partnership of Wilson Architects Partners Hill (WAPH) has completed a preliminary concept plan for the accommodation. Local residents have raised objections to the development, arguing it will increase traffic in the area.
It will be the latest in a string of multi-million-dollar developments at the university, including the $136 million Richard Kirk-designed Advanced Engineering Building, the $57m Centre for Advanced Imaging, the $142m Oral Health Centre and the $33m Global Change Institute.
Across its major St Lucia and Gatton campuses, as well as 20 sites across Queensland, the university holds 800,000sq m of gross floor area and $2.9 billion worth of buildings.
In Brisbane’s CBD, the Queensland University of Technology has recently completed its $230m Science and Engineering Centre, built by Leightons from a Wilson Architects and Donovan Hill design.
QUT director of facilities management Andrew Frowd said the university was shifting focus to upgrading its Kelvin Grove campus with a new $75m education precinct.
Still in the design phase, work on the $75m Wilson Architects and Henning Larsen building will begin by next May. Demolition on the site will occur over Christmas.
Separately, a $40m, 800-space car park with a turfed roof to cater for a FIFA-grade soccer field and touch football grounds is out to construction tender. It is to be finished by the end of the year.
QUT has 374,000sq m of gross floor space with buildings and infrastructure worth $1.4bn.
Queensland Property Council executive director Chris Mountford said universities’ showcase developments, as well as their strong growth prospects, made them a major sector for future property industry interest.