Senator to launch new $7m university building in Alice Springs 


Higher education students in Central Australia will have a new home with the opening of a $7 million building at the Charles Darwin University (CDU) Alice Springs campus on September 27.

The building will be opened by Senator Nigel Scullion, Federal Minister for Community Services, and Mr Karl Hampton MLA, representing Minister Paul Henderson from the NT Government.

The building has been built specifically to deliver higher education to Central Australian communities.

It offers a hub of resources for more than 30 staff and 190 undergraduate, postgraduate and research students, some of whom work collaboratively with research and brokerage institution Desert Knowledge CRC.

Higher Education at Alice Springs encompasses a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses covering nursing, business, education, engineering, IT, law, tourism management, accounting, commerce, multi-media and environmental management.

It includes multi-media equipped lecture theatres, class, tutorial and research rooms.

The double-storey building is an earthy, sculptural design that responds to the rocky landscape of Central Australia. Deeply recessed, minimal glazing on the west façade reflects the opening of layered rocks and echoes the tones of the distant McDonald Ranges.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community and Access) Don Zoellner said the facility was built in response to the current and future needs of Central Australians.

‘The new building further cements CDU’s commitment to tertiary education and research in regional and remote Australia,’ he said. ’And it’s satisfying to see such an innovative building built and designed with local expertise.’

Local firms Susan Dugdale Architect and Jackman Goodman Architects designed and administered the building construction and Sitzler Brothers began construction in 2005. The project was jointly funded by the Territory and Commonwealth governments.

Offering a modern lecture theatre, science laboratory, offices and an administration area, it uses the latest building methods and technologies to maximise comfort and resources for staff and students.

The building responds to the unique brief provided by CDU and is specifically designed for a dry climate with extremes of heat and cold.

The energy-efficient building is fitted with technologies allowing regulated automated airflow through the top floor, chilled water-based air-conditioning and energy-efficient lighting. Thermal mass is maintained with masonry walls and a slab-on ground floor.

The launch kicks off a host of events on campus including the Charles Darwin Symposia, exploring the challenges of keeping, attracting and training skilled workforces in remote Australia. The Symposium will be held on 28 September.

CDU has invited top academics and industry leaders to the free symposium to generate discussion, debate and strategies dealing with this critical issue in the outback and beyond.