University unveils plans to develop eastern campus

July 17, 2012

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Murdoch University has unveiled proposals to transform the eastern end of its campus in order to expand its core activities of high quality research and teaching.

The University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Higgott said the development of the Eastern Precinct would establish Murdoch as a premier knowledge hub, creating an inspiring Australian destination for innovation and learning.

The plans include creating Murdoch Square, which will be lined with multi-use facilities anchored by core educational and research uses and complemented by appropriate commercial usage, including retail, civic and a range of accommodation types to suit the varied student and workforce communities attracted to the area.

The University is now consulting with its staff and students, the wider community and stakeholders on its plans for the Eastern Precinct which is adjacent to the St John of God and Fiona Stanley Hospitals.

Professor Higgott said: “We are blessed with a distinctive setting at Murdoch University and want to build on our vibrant culture by developing multi-use facilities which will make the University campus an attractive place to visit as well as learn and research.

“Its proximity to St John of God and the Fiona Stanley Hospital offers the perfect opportunity to develop integrated research and commercial activity that serves the interests of the university campus, the hospital campus and the thousands of people who will work on both campuses over the coming years.

“We intend to create a pedestrian-friendly town centre while ensuring the development is fully integrated ecologically with the wider campus, including its wetlands and bush.

“We very much welcome community comment and suggestions on our proposals which have been inspired by similar developments currently being undertaken in numerous major university centres around the world.”

The proposals are central to the University’s current reform agenda, which aims to enhance Murdoch’s core activities of research, teaching and community engagement.

Hames Sharley were engaged to develop an Urban Design Framework which will guide the detailed planning and design of the Eastern Precinct. Those interested can view the plans and make comment here.

Members of the public, Murdoch staff and students and stakeholders have until Monday, August 20, to make comment on the plans. All feedback will be incorporated into a final proposal for the Eastern Precinct, which will be presented to Murdoch University’s Senate for endorsement later in 2012.

The proposals for the University’s Eastern Precinct are running in tandem with, and are intended to complement, the State Government’s Murdoch Activity Structure Plan.

Comments (4 responses)

mike July 18, 2012

Sounds interesting but two questions have come up for me from hearing this.
Would this mean knocking down the Environmental Technology Center or is there plans to include part of it? As the ETC as an entity can also contribute to this 'knowledge base'.

Secondly, how long will the consulting public expect to last before finalising on the design would be complete?

Karen Schmidt July 26, 2012

Hi Mike, given the location of the ETC I would not expect it to be affected in the short to medium term. As with any of the existing activities on the Eastern Precinct, we will be discussing the location of those activities with the responsible school before any specific development is planned. The current consultation period is open until 20 August; I expect to provide a final version of the Urban Design Framework for approval by the end of this year.

Richard Read July 31, 2012

It is difficult to understand the impact on current veterinary school clinical paddocks and the veterinary farm. I imagine that as with the response to Mike's question over the ETC, the impact is likely to be more significant in the medium to long term, but it seems Murdoch Square will encroach significantly on veterinary school clinical paddocks.
Can you clarify please?

Karen Schmidt August 7, 2012

Hi Richard, the Urban Design Framework is our first step in considering what development of the Eastern Precinct might look like, and our focus at this early stage is to get the vision, objectives, activities, and design principles right. When we are satisfied that we know – broadly – what we want to achieve, we will then have a considerable amount of due diligence (environmental, geo-technical, financial, transport…) before any development occurs. This will include assessing the impact on university operations and planning how we develop in a way that that does not compromise important teaching and research activity. At a meeting of the vet school last week, the Vice Chancellor made it clear that he will not countenance any development without first consulting with the school and arranging for alternative facilities if they are needed.

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