James Cook University will build a new student accommodation facility after the previous one caught on fire.
James Cook University will build a new student accommodation facility after the previous one caught on fire.

JCU to build $53m student accommodation

A $53 MILLION 400-bed complex will transform James Cook University campus.

The university wants to build the new student accommodation complex after fire destroyed A and B block of the University Hall on April 4, 2019.

The fire displaced 218 students who were relocated in temporary accommodation.

Instead of refurbishing the damaged University Hall, JCU has indicated in the tender documents the new development will reinstate student accommodation.

It will be built next to the planned $98 million Technology Innovation Complex which is due to begin construction later this year.

The five-level complex will converge engineering and IT students, industry partners and researchers. The new accommodation complex on Mount Stuart St will be adjacent to the technology complex.

JCU deputy vice-chancellor, division of services and resources Tricia Brand said the planned building was a game-changer for new students.

"The university experienced 20 per cent growth in international students and again we are looking at double digit growth this year," she said.

"So we see that significant growth pattern continuing into the long term and international students expect contemporary student accommodation and that's what we are responding to."

Ms Brand said planning was underway for the new complex before last year's fire.

The cost of the planned building is expected to be $53 million. JCU is negotiating with the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to seek a final approval for funding.

Ms Brand said construction of the new student accommodation would start this year and was hoped to be completed by the first semester of 2022.

The building will have single, ensuited bedrooms and group share accommodation available as well as a MasterChef style kitchen on the ground floor.

Ms Brand said the development was in support of the university's future vision.

"This is all part of growing (Townsville Tropical Intelligence and Health Precinct) TROPIQ which is a productive precinct for the city of Townsville," she said.

"We are basically open for development and we are looking to attract new industries and new players into town."

Ms Brand said JCU had been working closely with Nettletontribe Architects to deliver a world-class building.

"We had our project group go on a tour where they went to look at other contemporary accommodation in cities down south in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane," she said.

Tenders have opened for a project manager.