Flinders University is creating a vibrant new heart for its campus with a major construction project that began with a sod-turning ceremony today (Thursday, September 25).
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the start of construction of Flinders University at Bedford Park, the Plaza Redevelopment and Student Hub Project is one of the highest profile transformation projects Flinders has embarked on since its establishment in 1966.
The design of the redevelopment was showcased today to more than 300 staff, students, alumni and media using innovative technology that takes viewers on a virtual tour of the new facilities.
Designed by award-winning global design and consulting firm Woods Bagot, the $63 million redevelopment is designed on sustainable and green principles and due for completion by construction firm, Lend Lease, in 2016.
The redevelopment will feature:
- quiet study spaces
- healthy, affordable, food options
- group study lounges
- students’ kitchens
- a terraced amphitheatre for live performances and screenings
- streamlined student service delivery located centrally
- improved accessibility to the Central Library
- conference facilities
- a wide range of function venues and
- free, secure and reliable access to one of the fastest WIFI networks in the world.
Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said the Plaza Redevelopment and Student Hub Project will be a “student-owned” space that connects essential services such as associations, retail outlets and academic assistance, as well as providing opportunities for individual or group study and socialising.
“As Flinders University reflects on the past half century and looks to celebrating our formal 50th Anniversary in 2016, we are creating a future with innovative teaching and learning environments that are responsive to changing student needs,” Professor Barber said.
“The new Plaza and Student Hub will become the vibrant heart of the University, offering student support and services as well as social and relaxation spaces, providing the down-time to help students refresh and recharge and to develop strong peer relationships,” he said.
Designed to enhance the student experience, the new Plaza and Student Hub project will incorporate a state-of-the-art wireless network which is currently being rolled out at Flinders.
The design of the Plaza Redevelopment and Student Hub reflects valuable input from student and staff consultations over the past year.
Flinders University Student Association President Grace Hill welcomed the development, saying it would enhance the student experience by offering new spaces to engage in student clubs, events and other recreational activities.
“The Association is excited for any development on campus that will improve student conditions and the environment for all of us,” Ms Hill said.
“One of the most positive aspects that I’m looking forward to is the opportunity for students to influence and shape the way the spaces in the hub are used for their activities and events,” she said.
As part of the student consultations, a competition was held over the past year for students to pitch their ideas for possible inclusion in the design of the Plaza Redevelopment and Student Hub, a competition won by Ms Tamara Babij.
Ms Babij said she was “thrilled to see that my suggestions such as group study areas, club spaces, student kitchens and many other aspects aimed at increasing student involvement at the University have been taken aboard”.
“Seeing the video of the planned plaza and hub development, I’m confident that the Plaza and Student Hub will make a phenomenal contribution to the student life on campus, providing a forum for students to not only have access to a place to study, but to also socialise and participate in campus clubs and events,” Ms Babij said.
A fly-through video of the design for the Plaza Redevelopment and Student Hub is available on the University’s website. It brings this project to life and provides an insight into an exciting state-of-the-art space in which to learn, connect and play.
The University’s new retail precinct – incorporating a new Campus Store, Flinders University Pharmacy, Australia Post, STA Travel, and the Wholefoods Store – opened this month on the ground floor of the Humanities Building on the eastern side of the Plaza.
The Plaza Redevelopment and Student Hub project is an integral part of Flinders’ 50th Anniversary celebrations that will take place over the next two years.