UTS planning for the future
- Over the past decade, the UTS campus has been transformed through a $1 billion-plus investment that has delivered new landmark buildings and the refurbishment of existing facilities.
- With research, learning and teaching constantly evolving, planning is now underway to ensure the campus will continue to meet the needs of UTS students, staff and researchers into the future.
- Under-utilised spaces are being identified, and options explored for older buildings that are ripe for renewal.
Much like the vibrant, international city it’s part of, the UTS campus has seen on-going reinvention and expansion. Since 1988, when the university was ‘born’, our inner-city footprint has grown, buildings have been demolished and replaced, and specialist facilities have broadened opportunities for learning, teaching and research.
Over the past decade, in particular, our campus has been vastly reimagined. The opening of three unique new buildings has contributed to the architectural diversity of the campus and the city more broadly: the curvaceous and colourful Vicki Sara ‘Science’ building; the world-renowned Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing UTS Business School; and the striking Faculty of Engineering and IT building, with its shiny metallic walls providing an unmissable entry-point to the CBD. The wow-factor of their exteriors is matched by cutting-edge interior fit-outs that accommodate specialist research facilities and best-practice learning environments.
Additional facilities and spaces have sprung up alongside these buildings. The world-class Ross Milbourne Sports Hall, the high-tech Library Retrieval System and the urban haven of Alumni Green, are examples of the bespoke locations helping to define our vibrant, purpose-built campus. At the same time, our campus footprint has been broadened by new specialist facilities at strategic locations, such as UTS Tech Lab in Botany and our sports science, physiotherapy and sports media facilities within the Rugby Australia Building at Moore Park.
“As best-practice in tertiary education has evolved, so has our campus,” explains Nigel Oliver, Director of the UTS Program Management Office (PMO).
“Our investment in campus infrastructure has delivered state-of-the-art teaching, research and industry engagement spaces that position UTS as a world-leading university.”
Much of the concentrated development activity of the past decade is a result of the City Campus Master Plan, a $1 billion-plus investment for UTS. The UTS Central building on Broadway, due to open in mid-2019, will be the final major project delivered under that banner. However, it definitely won’t bring an end to campus development.
“The needs of our students and staff are constantly changing,” says Nigel. “After a long period of intensive construction activity, we are now shifting our focus to planning for the future.
“We are reforecasting university needs for the next decade in order to deliver the infrastructure that will support and facilitate ongoing changes in teaching methodology and technology, as well as potential growth of the university community.”
Planning, designing and delivering a major new building can take many years. That’s why work is underway to identify opportunities for redevelopment that might happen a decade from now.
As a city campus – and the most densely built university in the southern hemisphere – space is at a premium at UTS. Maximising floor space on our campus footprint is certainly a planning and design priority. Through smart planning decisions and on-going appraisals of how space is used, the university can continue to offer an array of green spaces, open space and social spaces, as well as our essential learning, teaching and research facilities.
“One thing we’ve done recently is a study of how our spaces are being used,” says Nigel. “If we can identify spaces that are underperforming, we can look for innovative ways to optimise their use to meet existing or future demands.”
“All across our campus we are developing learning and informal spaces that are vibrant and welcoming, to create a ‘sticky’ campus where our students can spend time, socialise, collaborate and study; before, during and after class. We are also investing in facilities for staff collaboration, socialisation and activity-based work. We know that work and study environments have a substantial impact on both productivity and well-being and we have been pleased to see the positive response to the improvements we’ve made to the campus in recent years. It’s all about continually improving the student experience.”
The PMO Planning and Design team is currently investigating a range of options for future campus redevelopment. With the Faculty of Law and UTS Library moving to the new UTS Central building, there will be opportunities to rethink the use of Building 5 in Haymarket. Long-term redevelopment of Bon Marche and the Science building (buildings 3 and 4) is also being explored, which could allow additional floor space as well as improved connections throughout the Broadway precinct of the campus.
After 8 years with UTS, Nigel firmly believes that the key to successful campus development is strong collaboration, stakeholder consultation and meticulous forward planning.
“Our project teams work closely with stakeholders across the university, to ensure that the work we do will enhance the student experience, expand research opportunities and accommodate ongoing changes within our dynamic tertiary learning environment,” he says. “The UTS campus is renowned internationally for its architecture and design, sustainable practices and smart technologies. Our focus will continue to be on providing world-class buildings and facilities that serve our students and staff long into the future.”