Game changer

ARDC external rendering. Image supplied by Populous

ARDC external rendering. Image supplied by Populous

In summary: 
  • Work has commenced on the new five-and-a-half storey Australian Rugby Development Centre, which will be located at Moore Park and jointly occupied by UTS and the Australian Rugby Union
  • The world-class sporting, education and community hub will be home to UTS sport and exercise science courses, sport management courses and related research 

“We’re taking sport science to the sporting grounds.” That’s how Faculty Operations Manager in the Faculty of Health Karina Sherwood describes UTS’s new partnership with the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust (SCGT) and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).

Work has already commenced on a new five-and-a-half-storey facility at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz Stadium precinct in Moore Park. In an Australian-first, UTS will jointly occupy the building with the ARU.

It will be known as the Australian Rugby Development Centre (ARDC), and be located on Moore Park Road next to Allianz Stadium.

Aaron Coutts (far left), Attila Brungs (centre) and Peter Booth (far right) join the ARU and SCGT for the ARDC groundbreaking. Photo by: Charlie Drayton (SCGT Media) Aaron Coutts (far left), Attila Brungs (centre) and Peter Booth (far right) join the ARU and SCGT for the ARDC groundbreaking. Photo by: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

“Essentially, it’s a world-class sporting, education and community hub,” explains Sherwood. “It will be home to our sport and exercise science courses and our sport management courses, as well as all the related research they do. It’s also home to Australia’s top male and female rugby union players, so our students will have unprecedented access to the nation’s best players and training facilities.”

The new building is due to open for the first teaching session in 2018. However, students are already taking classes at Moore Park after a range of temporary facilities were completed by UTS’s Facilities Management Operations (FMO) at the end of 2015.

The new UTS Moore Park precinct, as it’s known, is an extension of the university’s City campus and offers an unprecedented opportunity for students.

Asked to describe the ARDC building itself, FMO Project Manager Ben Jenkins, says, “It’s a facility like no other. It’s the first of its kind in Australia, and it has quite a unique, individual design.”

A public cafe is planned for the ground floor, and on those levels occupied by UTS (levels 3 to 5) there will be a range of facilities including purpose-built research and teaching laboratories for exercise physiology and biomechanics, high-performance sports training facilities, as well as general teaching spaces and study areas for group and individual work.

ARDC interior training area. Image supplied by Populous ARDC interior training area. Image supplied by Populous

The new facilities will also include state-of-the-art equipment that enables 3D motion analysis, metabolic assessment, micro technology, cognitive assessment and body composition testing.

The ARDC’s most prominent feature, however, will be UTS’s indoor training hall, situated above the ARU training room.

A central connecting staircase will join the training hall to the rooftop terrace, which will include a running track, meeting rooms, a function room and views of the Sydney Tower and surrounding buildings.

Jenkins says, “While students and academics will benefit from the range of specialist facilities in the ARDC, they can also take advantage of everything our City campus has to offer.”

The prime location of the precinct will give students the opportunity to network and develop strong partnerships with the ARU and other elite sporting identities that call the SCG home, adds Sherwood.

“Being on-site at the precinct will enable the students to be as submerged in the sporting environment as they can, whilst seeing and working alongside elite athletes,” she says.

“The research conducted by our sport and exercise staff has been awarded ERA 5 - the highest ranking in Australia - which indicates their research is well-above world standard. Many of our academics have also received university or national teaching awards, so this precinct will be an extension of UTS’s excellence in sport sciences. It’s a platform and from it, the sky is the limit.”