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De-risking a Relocation at the University of Newcastle Australia

De-risking a Relocation at the University of Newcastle Australia
The University of Newcastle Australia
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De-risking the relocation of activities to a different campus location to support the testing of construction master planning under development, with a scenario-based space planning tool.

The University of Newcastle is an Australian public university established in 1965. It has a primary campus in Callaghan, a suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales. The university also operates campuses in Ourimbah, Port Macquarie, Singapore, Newcastle Central Business District and Sydney Central Business District. The University has approximately 22,000 full time students.

The Challenge

The Callaghan campus is the university’s main and largest campus situated approximately seven miles from Newcastle CBD. The campus is on 346 acres of natural bushland and houses many of the university’s operations, including student administration, course and degree program planning, and the university’s Teaching and Learning division. It also hosts five on-campus residential colleges (Edwards Hall, International House, Evatt House, Barahineban and the recently built New Residences).

The relocation of Business and Law from the Callaghan Campus to the Newcastle City CBD precinct led to the opportunity to consolidate and locate other operations to the Callaghan campus.

The University identified the need to improve space utilisation, deal with backlog maintenance and high cost end of life buildings whilst improving adjacencies between faculty disciplines. A campus masterplan had been completed which also identified some new potential builds on the Callaghan Campus.

To support this decision-making process an interactive space and scenario modelling tool was needed to allow various options to be tested in accordance with various criteria impacting on the university. The output from the model would need then inform the total space need for both the delivery of the curriculum and the potential new build facilities on site, both by faculty and across the whole university.

The Solution

EventMAP developed an interactive space projection model that meet the specific and general requirements of the University. The model was developed with the University, giving the ability to adjust input variables and generate of numerous scenarios that enabled the University to understand the impact of resource allocation decisions over a ten-year period.

The model applied various sensitivities such as room frequency of use, room occupancy rates, recalibrating the teaching spaces types whilst supporting the move to a collaborative flexible learning model rather than lecture-based delivery. It also demonstrated the impact of the possible demolition of selected buildings which had reached the end of life.

The Space Modelling Tool allowed the operator to manipulate the variables that drive the generation of space required. The demand for space, as driven by student numbers, teaching and learning delivery, staff accommodation and research activities was mapped against available space to identify potential oversupply or undersupply of space.

The Benefits

The model generated multiple scenarios that informed the development of the Callaghan Campus. The University utilised the tool to develop Schedules of Accommodation for new capital projects, describing the type and amount of specific teaching spaces, research spaces, student support spaces and research spaces. This allowed the optimisation of space requirement and the de-risking of the build programme and capital cost needed.

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The involvement of EventMAP in the development of the Space Projection Model was critical to meeting the University’s needs. They showed a detailed and sophisticated understanding of space planning, and universities that is not present in similar consultancies. The Model developed was transparent, flexible and highly interactive.

Dr Kenn Fisher
Associate Professor, New Learning Environments, University of Newcastle
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