Published: September 28, 2015

Groundwork on the Health Innovation Building started in July while site preparations for the nearby Great Hall will start in September-October.

The Health Innovation Building will be home to the ICT Innovation and Collaboration Centre; a tech hub developed by global industry leader Hewlett Packard, UniSA and the State Government that has also resulted in the delivery of a new IT degree.

The two buildings form a significant part of UniSA’s redevelopment plan for the city’s north-western corner.

“We are working with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the City of Adelaide, exploring greater links to the Health and Biomedical Precinct via George Street, the Lion Arts Courtyard, Hindley Street and beyond,” UniSA capital projects director Robert Lustri said.

“The last major development program by the university in the west end was the Stage 2 blueprint in 2005 worth $100 million. This is the next evolution 10 years on.”

UniSA has worked closely with City of Adelaide on placemaking projects for the area that stretches from the new biomedical research precinct on North Terrace to the main transport thoroughfare further south on Currie Street.

Mr Lustri said it made sense for a corridor to be established through the university drawing together the diverse mix of people frequenting the zone.

“There will be in excess of 5000 health workers in the precinct, together with our students and researchers, plus the researchers and staff of the new South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, all working in this western side of the city,” he said.

“There is great potential to really revitalise and energise this part of the city.

“A building project is not just a building project, it’s a whole campus improvement project that also impacts the surrounding environment.

“We want (the western side of town) to be a place that is great to visit in the day time and night time, we want it to be a place that’s vibrant and safe.”

UniSA’s redevelopment began in 2012 with the Jeffrey Smart Building; a learning centre and library with a Hindley Street frontage. The structure has boosted student attendance on campus and was recognised with two South Australian Architecture awards for educational and sustainable architecture.

Other elements of the development include:

  • The City West child care centre with places for 96 children.
  • Student accommodation.
  • City West student lounge that is a refurbishment of the existing Catherine Helen Spence Building and;
  • A greening project for George Street with future plans for Fenn Place to the Lion Arts courtyard.

The Great Hall will be built alongside the new Jeffrey Smart Building, creating an open air hub and meeting place for students, staff and the local community. The Great Hall itself will incorporate a large event space, a public sports complex including multi-purpose courts and fitness centre and a 25m five-lane swimming pool.

Mr Lustri said local businesses were leading the various projects from design to construction and management. Many are partnering with other firms to pool resources and experience, however all elements are led locally. University of South Australia students have also been involved in developing the concept and design, for the Great Hall in particular where two architecture students were interning with Adelaide firm JPE Design Studio on the project.

Industry based experience is also at the heart of the Hewlett Packard partnership with UniSA. One of the cornerstones of the alliance is the new Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours) (Enterprise Business Solutions) program through which students can undertake a 12-month paid internship with HP.

HP, recently named Ranstad’s “Most Attractive Employer” in Information and Communications Technology, will equip students with “access to worldwide breadth and depth of industry experience, market leading technology and large pool of industry experts”.

However, it’s not just students who will benefit from the partnership.

“As a key player in the ICT industry, HP understands the key role it has in influencing the development and education of the future workforce,” HP South Pacific managing director and Enterprise Services general manager Nick Wison said.

“By gaining exposure to the students during their internship, HP (also) hopes to attract the best and brightest students to join the organisation on completion of their degree.”

South Australia is an important hub for HP and one it is expanding. Since 1967, Adelaide has been a key regional delivery centre for HP with local employees supporting South Australian, national and international clients in various industries and the public sector. In line with the UniSA partnership, HP has also committed to increase its workforce by more than 400 jobs by 2018.

UniSA IT program director Dr Grant Wigley said the partnership with HP was well timed with the changing landscape of the local economy.

 “Adelaide is at the stage where our traditional industries like manufacturing are changing so it’s important that our graduates are ready for jobs of the future.”