UPDATE 8/04: UTAS has announced it has purchased the K&D Warehouse site in Hobart’s CBD as part of the move into the city.
The site will be home to a new student accommodation complex.
When completed, it will be the third such complex to be situated on Melville Street.
The University of Tasmania has decided to move away from the Sandy Bay campus and consolidate in Hobart’s CBD, in a decision that will change the future of the institution and the city.
The University Council today decided against maintaining the university’s current distributed footprint in the CBD and at Sandy Bay.
In an email to students, Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said the city-centric campus will be developed over more than 10 years.
“This move to the City will see us return home to our original campus on the Domain with its heritage buildings, sandstone and parkland setting,” he said.
“We have heard and understand that we need to build a true campus with a clear heart, which brings people together and builds community, not just a collection of buildings in a different location.”
The campus will be anchored with a central library and public square on the corner of Argyle and Melville Streets.
The campus relocation is expected to cost about $600 million.
As part of the decision, some accomodation and recreation facilities will remain at Sandy Bay.
Tasmania University Union President Sharifah Syed-Rohan said the union is calling on UTAS to continue to consult with students.
“This consultation must be student centric and reflect the diverse perspectives and needs of our student body,” she said.
“It is crucial for not only the future of our University, but the future of Tasmania, that our university community have access to world class facilities and that is what we hope this decision will achieve.”
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), the union representing UTAS staff, said its members had a clear preference to remain at Sandy Bay.
“The soul of a university comes from having places for students and staff from across disciplines coming together to mingle and share ideas,” NTEU Secretary Kevin Michael said.
“This collaboration and energy will not happen if the campus is moved into the Hobart CBD.”
Many courses and facilities have already been moved away from Sandy Bay and into the city, with the greater Hobart region now supporting 18 UTAS facilities and campuses.