7 June 2019

Woden in line for new CIT to replace Reid campus

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
CIT Reid could be moving to Woden. Photos: George Tsotsos.

CIT Reid could be moving to Woden. Photos: George Tsotsos.

The Woden Town Centre is being considered as a potential site for a new purpose-built Canberra Institute of Technology campus to replace the Reid facility in the city.

The ACT Government is investigating whether to upgrade the prime Reid site or identify a new site to develop a modern, state-of-the-art campus.

City Services Minister Chris Steel said that the site could be nearby in the Constitution Avenue precinct, where the University of NSW Canberra is considering establishing a new campus, or it could anchor the Woden Town Centre, which is being transformed by new high-rise residential developments and is in need of community facilities.

Mr Steel, who is also a local MLA, said siting a new CIT in Woden would support its regeneration, particularly with the coming redevelopment of the interchange in preparation for light rail Stage 2.

He said a benefit of moving to Woden was that it could provide a smooth transition for staff and students, with a facility able to be built before having to vacate the Reid site.

Woden Valley Community Council president Fiona Carrick said a CIT in the Town Centre would support educational opportunities for the entire South, including Tuggeranong and Weston Creek, not just Woden.

She said it would be a reason for people to go to Woden, which is a transport, community and business hub for the South, and there would be big flow-on benefits to its small businesses.

But Mr Steel said the Government’s priority was to build new CIT campus to deliver high-quality VET services.

He said it would be a substantial project that would require a site to be identified and design work to establish a cost.

A Government spokesperson said the Terms of Reference for an analysis of site options were being developed now and a consultant would be engaged to carry out the work, with the findings expected in time for a public announcement by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

“We will continue to assess all options for the future of the CIT site in Reid, including ongoing discussions with UNSW, should CIT move to Woden,” the spokesperson said.

“In discussions with UNSW to date about a proposed new city campus, the ACT Government has made it clear that the needs and best interests of CIT will be a primary consideration in reaching a decision about a redevelopment of the precinct by UNSW. We are broadly supportive of this transformational project. However, careful consideration of the detail within the business case, and an assessment of the costs and benefits to the Canberra community is still in progress. ”

Terms of Reference for an analysis of site options were being developed.

Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Meegan Fitzharris said the ACT Government would work closely with CIT over the coming months to commission an independent assessment of sites in Woden that could accommodate a new CIT campus.

“Positioning CIT with a major presence in the heart of Woden has the potential to enhance the Town Centre and create an energy around a new campus that will open up a range of opportunities for CIT staff and students, local businesses, industry and the broader community,” she said.

Chair of the CIT Governing Board, Craig Sloan said campus renewal was a key to the evolution of CIT’s ability to support the ACT economy through providing a skilled workforce for contemporary needs.

“Industry and students have told us traditional classrooms isolated from employers and removed from the broader ecosystem are no longer capable of meeting the needs of the changing world of work. CIT needs to continue to evolve to transform the way we teach to help equip students with the vocational education, industry relevance and skills needed for the ACT to prosper.”

The Reid site would be a prime development opportunity and a windfall for the Government if it should choose to sell.

There are four other CIT sites in Canberra – Fyshwick, Bruce, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Oh no, not again. The original Woden CIT (or TAFE) was one of the great mistakes in Canberra’s history and indicative of how one arm of the Federal government didn’t know what the other was doing in those pre-self government days.

The building was designed by the Sydney architect who designed the (now demolished) American Express Center in central Sydney. Distinctive because of the scaffolding-type structure outside the windows and used to great effect by rock act The Angels in their video for Face the Day in 1981.

It was all very well until Tuggeranong began getting developed and someone in the Department of the Capital Territory discovered that the Education Department had built Woden CIT right in the path of the extension to Yarra Glen (which had appeared on maps as a dotted line since 1961) and which was supposed to link Tuggeranong with Civic and North Canberra.

The Department and NCDC hastily drew up and put in an extension to Yamba Drive to go into Tuggeranong (Erindale Drive) to provide that link to Civic, and the Yarra Glen extension (now named Athllon Drive) had to stop suddenly at Hindmarsh Drive.

Sounds a bit like an old wives tale. Listening to all the old timers everything was done right and was perfect back in the NCDC days, but seems like you are suggesting otherwise.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.