The development of a purpose-built university campus in Tamworth’s central business district is one step closer following the University of New England (UNE) call for expressions of interest from leading design firms.
The successful firm will have demonstrated experience in the design of educational facilities of a similar scale and character. They will be announced before the end of the year.
UNE Acting Vice-Chancellor and CEO, Professor Simon Evans welcomed the announcement and said he is pleased with the progress made in establishing a university campus in Tamworth.
“The project is gaining momentum and I’m looking forward to seeing how the designs will embody our vision of UNE Tamworth Central,” Professor Evans said. “In addition to being an inspiring physical learning environment, the final design should prioritise a compact, multi-purpose facility.”
Federal Member for New England and Shadow Veterans’ Affairs Minister Barnaby Joyce said excitement has been building in Tamworth for a long time, as locals wait to see the Tamworth Centre for UNE come alive.
“This project is going to revolutionise the great city of Tamworth delivering jobs, growth, and so much more for the region.” Mr Joyce said.
“There are kids in school now who will be able to complete their entire education from pre-school to tertiary right here in Tamworth, before the realisation of the Tamworth campus this wouldn’t have been possible.
“I would like to commend everyone at UNE on the work done so far and look forward to seeing the project over time.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said this was an exciting next step in securing the future of education in Tamworth, which will have a significant positive impact on Tamworth’s business community and the local economy.
“For too long, we have seen a vacuum of kids leaving our great city, simply because they couldn’t access tertiary education at home,” Mr Anderson said.
“We are the largest city in regional Australia without a University campus which is why I am proud to be a part of a Government that has committed to providing the infrastructure UNE needs to expand their presence in Tamworth.
“Not only will this project benefit future generations of local students, it will also add more than $600 million in economic benefit to the city over the next decade and will provide local businesses with a pipeline of skilled workers.”
UNE Tamworth Central will be built at Tamworth’s disused velodrome site on the edge of the CBD. The new campus will be connected to the broader UNE teaching, learning and research network but have a strong emphasis on community and local industry requirements.
In addition to supporting UNE’s comprehensive digital-first course catalogue, it will offer units and courses co-designed with industry and enable local work experience and internships for students.
Once completed, UNE Tamworth will complement UNE’s Armidale campus and extend the comprehensive support UNE provides both formally and informally through study centres, research facilities, incubators and broader outreach across the region.
“I am grateful for the support of the NSW Government, Tamworth Regional Council, and the efforts of both the Tamworth University Reference Group and Tamworth local member Kevin Anderson in supporting this important initiative,” Professor Evans said.
The construction of UNE Tamworth Central is possible thanks to $26.6 million from the NSW Government under the Restart NSW program, and contributions by UNE, Tamworth Regional Council and the Federal Government through the Job Ready Graduates program.
Invitations to tender will be extended to select architectural firms in line with NSW Government procurement practices.
UNE Tamworth Central is expected to be completed in 2025.