Big rig moves in for USC stage two

Published 10:00am 11 July 2022

Big rig moves in for USC stage two
Words by Kylie Knight

The biggest and newest rotary drilling rig of its type in Australia has started boring 26m below ground, kicking off the next stage of expansion at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Moreton Bay campus.

Weighing 170 tonnes, standing 43m high and worth $3 million, the Bauer BG 45 PremiumLine has arrived at Petrie to lay the foundations for stage two of the campus, which opened in 2020.

It is the biggest continuous flight auger (CFA) rig in the country. CFA is a rotary drilling method that uses a hollow stemmed tool to dig the hole and then pump in concrete.

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Photos: Dominika Lis

Growing student population

UniSC Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett says growth at the Moreton Bay campus has exceeded expectations and three new buildings will give students the latest in additional facilities for studying, collaborating and socialising.

|“When stage two is complete, UniSC will have invested more than $200 million into infrastructure at the Moreton Bay campus in The Mill at Moreton Bay precinct since initial works started in 2018.”|

“We’re only in our third year of operation, with the foundation building, and we’re now looking forward to the second phase of the growth of this tremendous campus and the opportunities for the local community.

“The second stage involves three new buildings which will over double the size of the space that we’re operating in here. The buildings will be on three levels and will have a whole range of new facilities including research, recreation, space for co-locating with industry, more staff offices and more facilities for our staff and students to socialise, to learn, and to really enjoy what is going to be a tremendous environment.”

“We’re right on track and we’ll be ready by the middle of next year in time for a new surge in student enrolments. Our current enrolments are well above schedule – we now have over 3000 students already coming to this campus and we’re expecting that by 2030 we’ll have 10,000 students here studying with a long-term goal of reaching 25,000 students at this campus,”

“It’s so exciting especially as we are the first buildings to be on this wonderful site. In a few years’ time it’s going to look so different.”

Collaborating with industry

“For our students it means they will have more teaching spaces, more spaces for socialising, for recreation, for research and also for engaging with industry because on the site as a whole, it’s going to involve many new facilities including hospital, school, industries such as advanced manufacturing and recreational facilities,” Professor Bartlett says.

|“Moreton Bay Regional Council will have a location here, so it’s going to be very diverse and our university therefore will have a tremendous advantage of being able to partner with all of these entities.|

“It’s wonderful we’re creating something that’s adding architecturally to the area to the community. So, I think the community can be very proud of that but more than that, what we’re doing is providing opportunities for the local community, for students to stay near home if they so wish – then study here and then create jobs and careers and even create jobs themselves here.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery says UniSC has already opened the door for hundreds of local students to study in their own backyard with many of them becoming the first to attend university in their families.

“When Council first devised a plan to get our very own greenfield university campus in the heart of Moreton Bay, we had some of the lowest tertiary education rates in the country and the site itself resembled something like a swamp,” Mayor Flannery says.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work and help from UniSC, the Federal Government and many others, we were able to turn this dream into a reality and create one of the best new university campuses in Australia.

|“Just two years into this campus’s life and, incredibly, we are well ahead of our expectations for growth, which is testament to the hunger of locals for higher education in Moreton Bay.|

“I’m very excited to be here today for stage two – the footings are going in – this has been a dream for council for many years and great partnership with UniSC which we’ve come along this progression due to the high demand of students wanting to come here.

“It shows that UniSC have made an investment here of significant millions of dollars and this is proof that they’re going to be here forever, so not only are they going to have one building here they’re going to have many, many buildings here into the future.

Mayor Flannery says this is “stage two of a few stages in the future” and proof the UniSC and Moreton Bay Regional Council formula is working.

When asked what Council’s presence would be on the site he said: “We’ve always been working with a great relationship with UniSC of where we can collaborate and be part of that development moving forward. We’re still having discussions with them, so that’s working out.

“Council will have some kind of footprint in Millovate Mill site into the future because we believe it’s that part of the future for innovation, technology, learning, education and we want to be part of that.”

Stage 2 design and build

The expansion has been designed by Brisbane-based architectural practice KIRK. Each of the three buildings will comprise three storeys, with the tallest 19m, bringing the total floor space on campus to 28,500 sqm.

A BADGE spokesman says the big rig will drill reinforced steel concrete pilings (long poles) into the ground as foundations to support the buildings’ structure. More than 160 trucks’ worth of concrete will fill the piling holes.

He says engineers are looking forward to working with the new machinery, which had to be assembled on site after arriving as parts from contractor Caporn Piling at Narangba.

Bauer is a seventh-generation family-run company that originated in Germany and now has 100 branches around the globe manufacturing high-quality, high-performance machinery.

Big rig moves in for USC stage two

What’s in stage two

Stage two of the Moreton Bay campus will include teaching and learning spaces, research laboratories, an industry hub and event space, student gym and sports hall, sports science facility, student hub and breakout spaces, outdoor spaces and amenities as well as multi-level parking.

With its student population expected to reach 10,000 students by 2030, the campus will become landmark infrastructure for The Mill at Moreton Bay, which Moreton Bay Regional Council has planned as a sustainable, mixed-use community for residents, students, businesses and industries, and visitors.

The foundation building, which opened in 2020, recently earned an Australian Institute of Architects Education Award at the Queensland Architecture Awards.

Stage two is scheduled for completion mid-2023. More than 60 undergraduate degrees are already offered across Business, Education, Health, Science, Technology, Engineering, Biomedical Science and Social Work.

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