ACU’s new Saint John Paul II Building on the Brisbane Campus heralds a new era of growth for education and research in the University’s 25th anniversary year.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk opened ACU’s brand new John Paul II Building on Thursday and Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge blessed it. The official opening, naming and blessing ceremony was well attended by members of Parliament, staff and students of the University, partner organisations and the community.
Premier Palaszczuk spoke about the importance of higher education and ACU’s contribution to training and shaping students whose skills underpin the social and economic needs of the community.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said the planning and growth had gained momentum on ACU’s Brisbane campus that has led to it becoming a university of choice for staff, students and industry partners.
“One of the greatest legacies of the Gillard government – and one that has received bipartisan support – was to support higher education for all Australians, giving access to students who were the first in their family to go a university.
“ACU Brisbane has more than doubled its student number over the last five years and has established major research Institutes in the heart of Brisbane in the areas of Health and Education. The new Learning Sciences Institute, Australia, headquartered at ACU Brisbane, was recently awarded more than twice as many premier research Grants (Discovery Grants) in the field of Education compared to that of any other University in Australia.
Chancellor John Fahey said the blessing, naming and opening of the Saint John Paul II Building was a very special occasion in the lifetime of the campus in the University’s 25th Year Anniversary.
“Named in honour of the great thinker and philosopher, Saint John Paul II, the majority of the building is dedicated to teaching and learning spaces, both formal and informal, and serves as an iconic example of ACU Brisbane’s commitment to creating innovative spaces to facilitate cognitive and critical thinking.”
Finished in November 2014, the building and surrounding landscaping was fully funded by the University at a cost of $25 million and was completed within two years. It has been fully occupied since the beginning of the year. State-of-the art labs are being used for speech pathology, occupational therapy and other allied health services, and a student centre on the ground floor has created a hub for students to gather.
Notable for its arced form, cruciform plan and reflective glass façade, the building has been entered for a series of prestigious national Awards including the Master Builders Housing & Construction Awards and the Australian Institute of Architects Award.
The images of the original heritage building with the landmark Tower reflected in the glass facade of the new building enhance the significance of the site’s heritage.
It was also the vision of Associate Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Nyland to create a sacred garden for the adjoining St Paul's Theological College, named 'Francis Garden' to commemorate the three early Franciscan Sisters as well as a reference to the Pope. The garden has created a formal precinct for the college; its ambience is that of a sanctuary for reflection. It also acts as a counter point to the campus’s new Indigenous Cultural Garden.
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