The Department of Education has today confirmed more than $17 million funding to South West TAFE to build the learning and library hub in collaboration with Warrnambool City Council. The council will contribute $3 million to the project.
South West TAFE CEO Mark Fidge welcomed the funding which he said would strengthen the campus and the city.
“It means the campus becomes a community space, not just a student space,” Mr Fidge said.
“This hub is an opportunity to create an educational and cultural precinct that brings together all age groups to learn and have a place to congregate and use as a library or community centre,” he said.
“It will have the latest technology, resource materials and linkages to TAFE but it’s much more than a library; it’s a place for the community. It will position Warrnambool at the forefront of collaborative, community and learning spaces for regional Victoria.
South West TAFE and Warrnambool City Council first identified this opportunity for the community nine years ago.
“Having two separate libraries within 100 metres of each other didn’t make sense and there was a need to improve both,” Mr Fidge said. “We will create something unique and special by combining our resources.”
Appointment of project managers and consultants is underway and a governance group to oversee the project has been established, including representatives from South West TAFE, Warrnambool City Council and the community. Other community and consumer groups will be established during the planning process and Mr Fidge said there would be extensive engagement to allow community input.
It is expected the library and learning hub will be completed by mid-2022.
“We want to research what makes the best libraries in Australia and around the world so we can create a unique precinct for this region that will make the community proud,” Mr Fidge said.
“Hopefully down the track someone from overseas will look at our library and learning hub and say that’s what we need,” he said.