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 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.
What will happen to the trees in the New Student Precinct site?
The Student Precinct contains a number of significant trees that will be protected and carefully integrated into the renewed precinct landscape. Large established trees bring heritage value, provide significant shade and wind mitigation, and reinforce the character of the precinct. As such, preservation of existing significant trees will be a priority, and all works around significant trees will be overseen by a qualified arborist. Significant trees in the Precinct include, but are not limited to, the giant London Plane tree in the Tsubu courtyard, the Lemon Scented Gum behind Sidney Asia Centre, and the trees in the 1888 Gardens.
Why is the John Smyth building scheduled for removal?
Replacing the John Smyth building, which has poor public interfaces on all sides and little heritage significance, will enable a new building to engage with Swanston St, down the line. Furthermore, early removal of the John Smyth building will allow access to the site from Swanston Street during the build.
What will happen to Frank Tate building?
The Frank Tate building will be refurbished to its former glory and take a prominent position at the heart of the New Student Precinct. With a significant drop in the ground plane, the building will have more visibility and increased access, establishing Frank Tate as a central point of orientation.
What is planned for the Eastern Resource Centre (ERC)?
The ERC is earmarked to receive an upgrade including the creation of a large student Hub on the ground floor with informal study space, the refurbishment of the upper levels of the building, and a new atrium linkway that will connect and expand the library into the Doug McDonnell Building. The Doug McDonnell Building will also have food and retail outlets and more informal study space for students. Most importantly, the library will be highly accessible.
Will the Melbourne School of Engineering computer labs in Alice Hoy be affected during Early and Enabling Works?
There will be no disruption to the computer labs in Alice Hoy during Early and Enabling Works.
Are the current food and retail tenants in Union House related to UMSU’s move to the Student Precinct?
The University is developing a campus-wide Food and Retail Strategy that will provide a comprehensive plan for the University’s future food and retail offerings. There is no link between UMSU’s relocation to the Student Precinct and the current commercial tenancies in Union House.
Who pays for the maintenance of UMSUs current space in Union House?
The University will continue to fund required maintenance of existing infrastructure in the Student Union Building.
What if space allocated to an UMSU service requires upgrades or refurbishment?
The University will endeavour to ensure that all space used by UMSU in Union House is compliant. Substantial works to existing and/or additional space will not be supported recognising current constraints on the existing building. Minor works will be considered if the investment improves space utilisation (for instance, installation of additional data network outlets in shared office space) with costs charged to UMSU.
How will any space requirements be accommodated?
If UMSU requires additional space for a new service, approval for this additional space in Union House may be granted where it is appropriate to do so. However, if UMSU intend to deliver the new service in the future and for this service to be supported by the new Student Precinct facilities, approval will need to be sought from the University in the form of a Business Case.
Where additional services and associated space is approved by the University, the functional and/or space requirements will need to be negotiated with the Student Precinct Project, recognising that the accommodation schedule for the Project has been set.
What if UMSU require additional space in Union House before the relocation?
Under the new model of corporate service provision to student organisations, all requests for additional space to support existing operations and services are to be made through the University’s Space Management portfolio. Approval will be granted where it is appropriate to do so, recognising that Union House is part of the overall University space portfolio and may need to support other University activities. All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
What will happen to Union House when UMSU relocate?
The University is considering the best future use for the Union House site, noting that there are currently no definitive plans.
When will UMSU be moving from Union House to the Student Precinct?
The New Student Precinct will be completed in stages, with the anticipated completion in 2021. UMSU, UMSU International and their associated services and activities are scheduled to relocate to the Alice Hoy Building in the New Student Precinct in late 2019. It is important to note that there are variables that may affect the timing of the Project and consequently the relocation of UMSU into the Precinct.
What are Early and Enabling Works (EEW)?
Early and Enabling Works is a generic description for site preparation works that might take place prior to work under the main construction contract. EEW will commence in the New Student Precinct from November 2017. It will involve noisy works but these will be minimised wherever possible. The project team is working with the University to run pop-ups and activations to improve the campus experience throughout this time.
Will the development of the New Student Precinct mean my fees will increase?
The Student Precinct has been funded by University capital funds and will not affect or increase fees for students.
Where can I access up-to-date information about the Student Precinct Project?
Regular updates on the progress of the Student Precinct Project, including the Project timeline can be found at www.students.unimelb.edu.au/student-precinct.
What will happen to Lot 6?
Lot 6 will cease trading and the building will eventually be removed altogether. The removal of Lot 6 provides an opportunity to reveal and reinstate the 1888 heritage north facade around a new courtyard space. This will enable a renewed relationship with the unified internal landscape and strengthen the precinct heritage core of the Student Precinct. With new food and retail outlets coming to the Precinct, student and staff will not be short on options. In the meantime, keep an eye out for activations around the site including pop-up food retailers.
Is there a map to help me access buildings now the hoarding is up?
Click here to access a one-page map and directions to assist staff, students and visitors navigate the New Student Precinct hoarding line and access buildings.