A $25 million refurbishment of the Coombs Building was approved by the University Council in a meeting it held on the 24th of July. The College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) was awarded the $25 million after its bid, in competition with other colleges, succeeded in the ANU’s Capital Works funding round for 2015.
Announced alongside the Coombs refurbishment was a $25 million refurbishment for the College of Law building, and a new $30 million building to house the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). This adds to four other building projects approved for the Research School of Social Sciences, CECS, Physics, and the Research School of Biology last year, amounting to $150 million.
These developments are scheduled to take place over the next six years (2015-20), with the Coombs refurbishment proposed to take 4-5 years.
According to an email circulated to CAP staff, the upgrades will result in the vacation of CAP from the Baldessin Precinct Building, allowing the School of Culture, History and Languages to be housed under a single roof in Baldessin. Furthermore, CASS is scheduled to vacate Coombs in 2017, which “will open up much-needed additional space for all of [CAP’s] Schools and Centres.”
Alongside these changes, the Coombs refurbishment itself will consist of the renovation of the Coombs Tearoom, possum-proofing of the building, and the development of “purpose built, innovative education spaces.”
The bid was supported by CAP staff, particularly their current and previous General Managers and Deans, Marketing and Communications team, and previous Facilities Manager. Prof. Taylor, the current Dean, labelled the success as “a long awaited opportunity” and described Coombs as “an attractive portal to our research and teaching.”
Parallel to the Coombs upgrade, the Law refurbishments are planned to be staged over the next 3-4 years, and the new CECS building will not be built until 2019-20.
Vice-Chancellor Ian Young, in an email to all ANU staff, stated that “the 7 projects, taken together, are a major investment in the academic activities of the university and will have a significant impact of the quality of the University’s academic facilities.”
CAP could not be reached for comment.