Green light for ACU’s new energy efficient development

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

6 October 2010: Development approval has been granted today for Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) $75 million expansion of its Melbourne Campus in Fitzroy.

The new National Centre for Health and Wellbeing on Young Street, which is aiming for a 6-Star Green Star Energy rating, will comprise lecture theatres and state-of-the-art learning facilities, as well as a gymnasium, bookshop, chapel, student centre and rooftop garden.

New building in Melbourne An artist's impression of the new eco-friendly building

Chris Sheargold, Associate Vice-Chancellor at ACU’s Melbourne Campus, said placements at the University are in high demand.

“For the last two years in Melbourne we saw an increase of 74 per cent for first preference applications on commonwealth supported places alone,” he said.

“When completed, the centre will enable ACU to graduate an additional 500 students a year in nursing, paramedicine, midwifery, exercise science, occupational therapy, psychology and public health - as well as greatly increase research capacity in those areas.

“Students living in the City of Yarra will also benefit under the University’s accessACU scheme, which awards bonus points to eligible applicants on a number of factors, including geographic location and SES.”

Mark Kelly, Director of architectural firm Woods Bagot, said the nine-storey development will incorporate a range of environmentally sustainable initiatives including acting mass cooling concrete slabs, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water heating panels and wind turbines.

“As well as an energy efficient concept, we have designed an attractive social and working environment for staff and students.

“We’ll use a natural palette of materials including concrete, brick, zinc and glass.”

New building in Melbourne Artist's impression of the new building from Victoria Street at night

Mr Sheargold said ACU was expanding in line with reforms recommended through the Bradley review, and planned to increase the Melbourne Campus student population from the current 4,600, to 7,500 full-time students by 2016. “With the completion of the project, ACU will have the finest inner-city campus of any university in Australia.”

The project is due for completion by May 2012.