A new building for UTS’s Blackfriars precinct has received the green light and is now out to tender – and while its students are smaller than is usual for UTS, the building won’t be short on big ideas.
By late May/early June 2016, construction works will begin for a new single-level building to replace the current Blackfriars Children’s Centre, run by UTS Child Care Inc. Reflecting UTS’s ongoing commitment to upgrading campus facilities, the purpose-designed centre will offer 84 places, an increase in capacity of around 60% to cater for increasing demand for child care from UTS staff and students.
How the new childcare centre will look from Blackfriars St
Located within a state-significant, heritage conservation precinct where neo-gothic Victorian buildings border three sides of a square, the new Blackfriars Children’s Centre will provide the missing ‘link’ that completes the quadrangle. The landscaped area in the centre will be repurposed as a children’s playground.
Once the new childcare centre opens in 2017, additional UTS research facilities may be created on the site of the old centre.
Childcare centre design
The architects have designed a building that responds to the early learning needs of young children as well as the surrounding streetscape. A notable exterior feature is a series of pitched roofs, designed to reflect the shape of the surrounding heritage buildings.
Inside, there will be a host of child-friendly spaces, including five playrooms plus craft rooms. Outside will be an undercover verandah, a playground with two sandpits and a chicken pen. Other facilities include a commercial kitchen, bathrooms and staff spaces.
Artist’s illustration of one of the new toddler playrooms
Relocation of Building 21 staff
As the new centre will require demolition of a demountable known as Building 21, research staff from UTS’s Advanced Analytics Institute (AAi), who currently occupy the building, will relocate to Building 25 in March.
Access and construction works
With the new centre to be built on the location of the current site access, initial activity on-site will focus on construction of new access pathway from Buckland St, due to begin in late March. Once the new access is established, early works for the childcare centre will get underway in late May/early June, commencing with site excavation and remediation before major works commence.
Structural works and fit-out of the childcare centre are anticipated to be complete in early 2017, with the building ready for occupation soon after.
Impact of the works
- Closure of the old entry on Blackfriars St will be signposted but may cause some disruption for those based on or visiting the site. Parents using the current childcare centre have been advised about changes to access and drop-off/pick-up arrangements.
- Vehicle noise from trucks using the new entry to access the work site may be more intrusive than current traffic noise at times. If you work on or use the site, your patience is appreciated.
- Demolition of Building 21 and site excavation will result in some noise but limited vibration. The two-hour period from 12noon to 2pm each weekday is limited to quieter construction activities. The contractor will hose down the site regularly.
- On-site parking spots will be replaced by parking elsewhere on campus – users impacted by the changes will be advised.
- Construction of new entrance to site commences – late March 2016
- Construction of childcare centre commences – late May/early June 2016
- New childcare centre construction completed – early 2017
- New childcare centre certified/licensed – mid 2017
Please contact Angie Clements regarding this project or the contractors.
Artist’s impression of the foyer in the new Blackfriars Children’s Centre
Child care at UTS
Both the Blackfriars Children’s Centre and the Magic Pudding Child Care Centre in McKee St, Ultimo, give preference to the children of staff and students, among other priority groups. Staff can find out more about UTS child care on Staff Connect.