Townsville’s economy is receiving a timely boost, with more than 300 people, employed by more than 50 local contractors and consultants, working on a $7 million project refurbishing accommodation at JCU’s Townsville campus.
The upgrade involves the complete renovation of more than 260 rooms, 16 bathrooms, eight common areas and two conference rooms across University Hall, Rotary International House, as well as the George Roberts and Western Court residences.
The locally owned and operated firms involved in the project include 12 head contractors, who have sub-contracted work to another 40 companies, with a total of 306 people working on the project.
The works include demolition, carpentry, rendering, plastering, painting, electrical, mechanical, cabinetry, floor finishes and glazing. It involves new apprentices and trainees as well as fully qualified tradespeople.
The room refurbishments include the installation of new air-conditioning units and state of the art network and wireless equipment, as well as upgrades to power and lighting, fixed joinery and loose furniture.
More than 95 per cent of the equipment is being purchased through local suppliers.
JCU Deputy Vice Chancellor Division of Services and Resources Tricia Brand said onsite student accommodation was fundamental to the student experience.
“We are bringing this accommodation up to contemporary standards to meet the expectations of students for now and through the years to come,” Ms Brand said.
“Students from all over the world come to JCU to study and we want them to be comfortable and housed in modern living arrangements. The stresses of studying can be eased by coming home to a cool and welcoming room.”
The rooms will be ready for the 2017 academic year, before the majority of students return on February 5.
The project is providing a great stimulus on the back of a tough year for local consultants and contractors.
JCU’s Deputy Director of Planning & Development, Estate Directorate, Matthew Joyce said JCU consulted extensively with the JCU accommodation management team and students living in the residences before starting works.
“That consultation informed a range of interior design options which were trialled and refined on a number of rooms over the past couple of years,” he said.
Gail Harrower, Manager Halls of Residence, said University Hall (catered) and Rotary International House (self-catered) remained the most affordable and vibrant accommodation on campus.
“People coming from interstate and overseas often have difficulties coping with the heat in North Queensland,” Ms Harrower said.
“So the addition of air-conditioning to all of our bedrooms is something that will make their day-to-day living more comfortable.”
To conserve electricity during daylight hours, motion sensors within each of the rooms will turn the air-conditioning off when not in use.
The self-catered Rotary International House residents in particular have been known to appreciate the Woolworths supermarket on campus, currently the only university campus in Australia to have such a facility.
Principal Contractor Adrian Gabrielli, of A Gabrielli Constructions Pty Ltd, said they were delighted to have been awarded the contract to upgrade the University Halls Building 111A & B accommodation blocks.
“Through our commitment to promoting and supporting local businesses we have procured many local companies to collaborate on trade areas to execute a tight construction program,” he said.
“We felt that by involving as many local trades as possible this would deliver the best outcome for the local economy and the Townsville community on this cost-effective, short-program renovation.
“Through our focus on local trades on this project, I feel that we have delivered on our foremost promises of local engagement and delivering opportunities to the local construction industry.
“The real winners at the completion of this project will be the students moving into the newly renovated University Hall in 2017.”
Media inquiries: Caroline Kaurila, JCU Media Liaison, 0437 028 175