What is the Student Precinct Project?
As part of the University of Melbourne’s (UoM) Growing Esteem (2015 - 2020) and its commitment to improving the Melbourne student experience, the Student Precinct Project will engage with the student community to co-create a new precinct at Parkville. It will be a vibrant village for students who will have ready access to student-led services, public transport, food and retail, as well as social, cultural and community opportunities beyond faculties.
Why create a New Student Precinct?
The University is committed to supporting the contemporary needs of our students, with over 40% of students now studying south of Grattan Street, an increasing number of international students and 50/50 undergraduate and postgraduate cohort. Working closely with the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU), UMSU International and the Graduate Student Association (GSA), in additional to student representatives across campus, the University is co-creating a new Student Precinct that will accommodate the changing necessities of an evolving student population.
The current infrastructure dedicated to the student experience (outside of faculty) is also poor and currently non-compliant.
Where will the New Student Precinct be located?
The Student Precinct will be located near the corner of Swanston and Grattan Street, bordered by Monash Road and the Melbourne School of Engineering.
Ten buildings are incorporated into the scope of the development and are ideally located adjacent to Stop 1 and Carlton Connect, and easily accessible to the future Metro Tunnel.
What will happen to Union House?
UMSU and UMSU International and their associated services and activities will move to the new Student Precinct. The University is considering the best future use for the Union House site, noting that there are currently no definitive plans.
What does ‘co-creation’ mean?
The Project is committed to co-creating the Precinct with students as partners, the approach driven by design thinking methodology. Co-creation requires a commitment from both parties to engage in a real partnership to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes and benefits are achieved. The co-creation of the Student Precinct will enable students to be part of the governance, design and activation of the space, and to be consulted throughout the life of the Project to ensure their views inform decision-making, governance and the overall design. Since its inception, the Project Team have conducted multiple co-creation activities and events, engaging over 4000 students to date.
How will students be involved in the co-creation of the Student Precinct?
In 2015 plans for the Student Precinct were in an early formative stage with a commitment made to work alongside the UMSU, GSA and broader student community to co-create a new Student Precinct. This included student members being part of the Steering Committee.
Throughout 2016 and 2017 co-creation was and is being achieved through collaborative and joint-decision making at all levels of the Project governance structure and through broader engagement with the student population, as outlined below:
- A Student Precinct Project Steering Committeewas established, made up of key stakeholders, including several student representatives. The Steering Committee meets monthly to support the governance and provide advice on the strategic direction of the Project. A Student Precinct Project Team was also formed to drive the process
- A Communications, Co-creation and Engagement Strategy was developed to ensure students were given opportunities to meaningfully engage with the Project. The co-creation approach invites the end-users – the students – to drive the direction, design and requirements of the space
- The Student Precinct Project Mailing List was established to provide students and stakeholders with regular updates and news regarding the Precinct. These updates, including news and event information, are also available to view on the University's Our Campus website
- An Urban Design Framework (UDF)for the Student Precinct was finalised in November 2016. The UDF provided a detailed understanding of the Precinct’s location and relationship to the Parkville campus, the existing condition of the buildings, and identified the opportunities and challenges to upgrading the site
- A Student Precinct Engagement Office was established at the rear of John Smyth Building in semester 1 2016. In 2017 the office has been relocated to a larger space in the ground and mezzanine levels the Raymond Priestly Building
- Pop-up comment walls sprung up across the campus, inviting students to share their views about what they think the Precinct should be. Over 800 comments were captured, penned by approximately 400 students
- Several open forums and consultations with students were presented early Semester 2, providing another avenue for students to get involved with the Project
- Future Foods were engaged to develop a preliminary Food and Retail Strategy for the Precinct to better understand the opportunities for food and retail in the space
- The Co-creation Community was launched online in semester 2. Informed by the responses gathered from co-creation activities in May, The Lab Strategy & Research presented online forums and discussions over an 8 week period to 312 active community users. The average number of posts shared by users was seven with unique posts totaling 2273
- A follow up quantitative survey completed by 867 students, was presented in Semester 1 2017, to validate and test the findings and data gathered through the Co-creation Community.
- A New Student Precinct webpage was launched at www.students.unimelb.edu.au/student-precinct
What is the current stage of the Project?
Using the Engagement Framework below, the Student Precinct Project is currently moving from the Create to Implement phase.
In 2017 the Project will focus on establishing a design for the Student Precinct, planning for the building works and raising awareness of the new site through events, activations and continued engagement with UoM students and the wider community. The Project is just about to commence Early Enabling Works which involves preparation of the site prior to construction works starting. Lowering of the Precinct’s ground plane will then take place from November, which involves extensive demolition to ensure that access throughout the Precinct is DDA compliant and easily accessible. Several activations and co-creation initiatives are also planned on the site in Semester 2 to ensure continued engagement and opportunities to contribute are provided for our students, and awareness and excitement of the new space is generated.
What is an activation?
An activation is an event or initiative that seeks to transform and energise a space. Activating the Precinct is key aspect of the Project to encourage students and the wider University to both connect with the space and contribute to it through engaging and collaborative activities.
What activations are coming up?
The Outdoor Gallery (launched)
The Outdoor Gallery is a feature creative space in the Precinct for students to share works in a permanent exhibition venue on campus. The Gallery is currently located on the John Smyth building.
Grow Room (August)
The Grow Room is a 2.6m high, spherical-shaped vertical indoor garden with interior seating that will serve as a shared edible garden resource for students.
Fair Food UniCycle (August)
The Fair Food UniCycle is a cargo-bike designed to make fair and sustainable on-campus catering and cooking easier, whilst also providing opportunities for food education, skills development and outreach programs for students.
Pedal Projections (October)
Precinct Pedal Projections is a mobile projection cargo that brings stories and events to life by creating a stunning visual display, transforming any public space into a captivating work of art or experience.
When will it be completed?
It is anticipated that the Student Precinct will officially open in 2020, with UMSU and UMSU International and their associated services and activities scheduled to relocate to the Alice Hoy Building in the new Student Precinct in late 2019. It is important to note that there are a number of variables that may affect the timing of the Project and the relocation of UMSU into the Precinct. Regular updates on the progress of the Student Precinct Project can be found here.
- How can I keep in touch?
Will the development of the Student Precinct mean my fees will increase?
The Student Precinct has been funded by University capital funds and will therefore will not affect or increase fees for our students.