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SCU reveals impressive Master Plan for Lismore campus

The Lismore App

Simon Mumford

10 April 2024, 4:00 AM

SCU reveals impressive Master Plan for Lismore campusAn artists impression of the new look Southern Cross University Lismore campus. Photo: supplied

Back on March 26, the Lismore App chatted with Southern Cross University (SCU) Vice-Chancellor Tyrone Carlin about the future of the Lismore campus.

Professor Carlin talked about creating, revitalising, and re-imagining the Lismore campus by making it an education hub that involved established high schools such as Trinity Catholic College and The Living School, as well as building on the university's strength in research and introducing a new veterinary medicine course.

The culmination of extensive consultation, including students and the community, is the release of the SCU Master Plan.

What has been revealed is an impressive concept that will bring life and reputation back to the birthplace of SCU. It is hard not to be excited by the opportunities that could develop in the next five to ten years.

The new Master Plan sets out a dramatic rethinking of the 75-hectare campus to be known as the Southern Cross Learning Precinct or Gnibi Wandarahn in the local Bundjalung language.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin said the Master Plan sets a pioneering model for regional university towns.

“We have set out to create a vision for a dynamic, multi-faceted hub of research, innovation and community partnerships that will change the way the region interacts with the University forever,” he said.

Education and the student experience remain central to the new Learning Precinct, while the other two pillars of the Master Plan are research with impact and engaged communities and partners. The three areas interconnect to envision a new focal point for the region.

Some of the proposed elements of the Master Plan include:

  • Campus to operate a zero-carbon economy: net zero by 2035
  • Multiple tenants remain: Trinity Catholic College expanded; The Living School relocated and expanded; provision for future expansion
  • New student accommodation
  • New synthetic athletics track and sports precinct
  • Potential art and history collection provision
  • New outdoor amphitheatre for cultural and music performances
  • Green spaces and natural waterways embraced
  • Goodman Plaza redeveloped
  • Bundjalung Place and SCU Hub as public spaces

The potential plans show expanded space for Trinity Catholic College in its current location, and a new space for The Living School to the east of the new synthetic athletics track.

There will be new student accommodation built on the southern end of the athletics track, a refurbished Goodman Plaza extension, and the creation of an amphitheatre.

As Professor Carlin said, the Master Plan is not a fixed plan, so readers should not think of it as a fait accompli but as a strategic framework that will help SCU create a place of excellence.

“The vision will deliver state-of-the-art facilities for research and learning, enterprise zones for regional development, and support the inclusion of vibrant public spaces promoting inclusivity and cultural richness", Professor Carlin said.

The Master Plan sets the future direction for the University and its partners. It was developed in conjunction with Terroir (Australia and Denmark) alongside Northern Rivers firm Possible Studio.

The realisation of the plan will take several years and will form a basis for investment planning and frameworks, including those involving government funding and participation.

We can only hope that Lismore City Council's 'Reimagine Lismore', its vision for Lismore for the next 30 years, will be as aspiring.

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