The New Quad

13 July 2017

The University of Melbourne has announced a restoration project for the Old Quadrangle, as part of its ongoing ‘Growing Esteem’ campaign.

The campaign is a strategic plan to provide better education, research facilities and learning spaces to students and staff across campus by 2020. According to the University, the renovation of the Old Quad is a step in this process.

A spokesperson for the University said the restoration would focus on rebuilding the original features of the Old Quad, and improve the teaching and learning infrastructure inside the building.

“This work will create a number of flexible spaces, including an exhibition and gallery area to house cultural collections and venues for events and celebrations, including public lectures, seminars, launches, receptions and ceremonial events. It will also reinstate teaching space along the ground floor of the east wing, accessed directly off the cloister,” the spokesperson said.

Third year Bachelor of Arts student, Jessica Chan was excited that the University is attempting to improve current on-campus facilities.

“The restoration project sounds like a good plan to revitalise the space, and repurpose it to be used for a wider range of events,” Chan said.

Third year student Natalia Naa was unsure if creating exhibition spaces is a priority for students, as current facilities do not seem to meet the increasing demand from students for study spaces.

“Libraries and current study spots are not enough to accommodate everyone,” she said.

The Flexable Academic Programing Green Paper for Optimising Phsical Infrastructure released earlier this year also recommended the University increase the number of informal study spaces on campus. The plans do seem in line with students’ desire for more workspace.

“Having the additional teaching space should enable more subjects to be taught in Old Quad and give more students the opportunity to study there,” Chan said.

According to a University spokesperson, the restoration team has been working with the University to minimise disruption to staff and students. However, official measures are yet to be decided.

Access to Old Quad has been closed since 26 June for the restoration, with aims to complete construction by November 2018.

The Old Quad is the oldest building on the Parkville campus and is included in the Victorian Heritage Register. The building contains one council chamber, six seminar rooms and examination venue, University Hall.

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