ANU Council approves new capital works

Thursday 19 June 2014
The Robertson Building (no. 46)

The Australian National University Council has approved a new model for capital works investment to enable the construction of two buildings, to house the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) and to bring together the Mathematical Sciences Institute (MSI) and the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS).

The new facilities will provide new space for work and learning for more than 800 staff and students.

The new funding arrangements also allow for the future development of the Physics Stage 1 project, the refurbishment of the Robertson Building of the Research School of Biology (RSB) including plans to renovate the West and Central Wings in 2017.

These wings will be gutted and then renovated to accommodate all of the RSB Division of Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, and part of the Fenner School who are currently housed in the old Geography Building (with a connection bridge between Robertson and the Frank Fenner Building). This is a major additional investment in biological sciences at the ANU, and will mean that all Biology is housed in state-of-the-art office and lab space.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young, AO, said the projects had been made possible by a strategic change in the way the university manages funding for capital works, with the money pooled for better long-term investment.

“Previously, capital works funding was distributed annually between the University’s Colleges, which limited the potential for major works,” Professor Young said.

“The new approach came about as a result of an agreement between all Colleges to pool the available funds over the long term, with major projects now able to be funded on a priority basis.”

Under the new model, $75 million will be made available from the three-year funding pool for two buildings. One building will house the Research School of Social Sciences, and the second will bring together the MSI and CECS.

Professor Young said the buildings would provide an environment that would enhance the quality of ANU education and research.

“ANU prides itself on the quality of both its research and education. This new capital investment will ensure both staff and students have world-class physical resources to carry out their work,” he said.

“These buildings will provide an environment better suited to the outstanding quality of people we have at the ANU.”

Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Toni Makkai, said the new building would provide a home for 650 staff and students from the Research School of Social Sciences who are currently scattered throughout 10 different buildings.

“By bringing the school into one location, staff and students will build closer working relationships and improve the quality of our research projects and education,” she said.

The second building will bring together the University’s schools of computer science and mathematics.

Dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Andrew Roberts, said there is significant collaboration between the two areas and a co-location will provide significant benefits to both areas.

“Computer science and mathematics are becoming increasingly linked. This building will provide a purpose built space that addresses the needs of both units,” he said.

“The new facilities will offer a world class environment which reflects MSI’s status as an international leader in mathematics.”

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