Watpac to build James Cook University Cairns Innovation Centre

Watpac to build James Cook University Cairns Innovation Centre
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Watpac Limited (‘Watpac’ or ‘Group’) today announced it has been awarded the $24 million contract to deliver the James Cook University Cairns Innovation Centre in Cairns.

The project will deliver a three storey multi-functional building in addition to a separate single storey ancillary/support building with a gross floor area of approximately 3,546 square metres.

The building will provide university staff, students and external partners with access to a variety of spaces designed to promote innovation, scientific and pedagogical activities with areas for meetings and administration, and amenities.  

As Watpac’s first project in Cairns, Watpac Construction Northern Area Manager Bryan Glancy, said the project would benefit from the Group’s long history delivering projects in Northern Queensland. 

“Watpac is well-established in Northern Queensland with the team having operated in Townsville for over 20 years delivering over $1 billion of projects in the region during this time,” Mr Glancy said. 

“The Watpac team will bring extensive local knowledge combined with industry expertise to ensure we deliver another high-quality project for our client James Cook University.”  

Externally, the building will feature a PTFE mesh fabric façade screen that will enable audio-visual projection. Internal features include a three-level atrium with glazed/planter screen and stairs.  

Other works include building a covered walkway connecting the new Cairns Innovation Centre with the adjacent Cairns Institute Building, as well as new site access and roadway, connection of services to the existing campus and landscaping. 

Watpac will also undertake demolition of the existing carpark and associated civil works.  

The project is expected to support a workforce of 75 people, with preference to be given to local suppliers and subcontractors wherever possible. 

Works will commence this month with an anticipated completion date of July 2020. 

The $30 million Cairns Innovation Centre is funded by $10 million from the Australian Government and $10 million from the Queensland Government, with the balance contributed by JCU. 

Having established operations in Townsville in 1998, Watpac has delivered many landmark projects in the region including the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine and Translational Research Facility at James Cook University, the Riverway Arts Centre and Lagoons and Riverway Stadium (Tony Ireland Stadium), and a number of defence facilities at Lavarack Barracks. The Group is currently Managing Contractor for the North Queensland Stadium in the heart of Townsville. 


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