New building for research advances, top facilities and jobs

An artist's impression of the proposed new science building

An artist's impression of the proposed new science building
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Friday, 13 November 2009

A proposed new University of Adelaide building will bring great scientific advances, top teaching and research facilities for students and staff, and an estimated $230 million and 2000 jobs into the state economy, University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha said today.

The University is proposing to develop a new $77 million teaching and research building on the site currently occupied by Union Hall.

It will incorporate the new Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) with specialised laboratories that will be the best in the world developing a new generation of optical fibres, and additional research and teaching facilities.

The development will provide 8,200 metres over seven levels of much-needed research and teaching space, and bring an estimated $230 million, 770 direct and 1300 indirect jobs into the state economy.

"This development will provide a world-class research and teaching facility that will allow our researchers to develop revolutionary technologies. These will bring tremendous benefits to health, the environment, food and wine production and defence," Professor McWha said.

"It will give students the benefit of first-rate teaching facilities and the opportunity to work with great researchers, who will be attracted from around the world to this facility.

"It will also help us meet our urgent need to accommodate rapidly expanding student numbers - approximately 1000 extra students each year - and our growing research activity."

Professor McWha said the jobs created and economic stimulus for the state was a "significant community benefit at a time when unemployment is predicted to keep rising at least in the short term".

"We need to make tough choices to best use our limited space and the funding we get. We are funded for research and teaching and that's where we must place our priorities.

"We acknowledge the loss of Union Hall has significance for some members of the community. However, we need to ask the question: do we want to keep an ageing facility that is not being used any more as a full theatre; that makes a poor lecture theatre; and that would require a substantial investment to refurbish and meet occupational health and safety requirements?

"Or, do we want to look forward and build something that will bring far greater benefits for students and staff, for advances in science and medicine, and for the South Australian community as a whole?"

Background information:

Union Hall was built in 1958 as a multipurpose facility, deliberately not called a theatre, funded from a fundraising campaign. The biggest contribution came from the University; the balance from a public appeal with a contribution from the Adelaide University Union - then an association of staff and students.

Union Hall has not been used by the Adelaide Festival since 2000, there has been limited use in the last decade by Adelaide Fringe, and the University's Theatre Guild stopped its regular use 15 years ago. The University is investing in a $1.5 million update of Scott Theatre and that will be in use in time for the Adelaide Festival in 2010. During the 2010 Adelaide Festival, there will be 28 performances on the University of Adelaide campus in both Scott Theatre (20 performances - State Theatre Company) and Elder Hall (8 performances) - more performances than any other venue provider outside the Adelaide Festival Centre.

For more information on the new building, please see the Frequently Asked Questions.


Contact Details

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The University of Adelaide
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