News and Views

Sports field or 500 car parks – how about both?

A 500-bay casual carpark has opened for staff, students and visitors at The University of Queensland St Lucia campus – but you’d be forgiven for missing it at first glance.

The parking building is completely underground, nestled under a sports field near the UQ Centre, accessible via Sir William MacGregor Drive.

UQ Chief Operating Officer Greg Pringle said students had requested more car parking options, and the opportunity arose with UQ Sport’s new synthetic Playing Fields 4 and 5.

“We spotted the chance to not only flood-proof and upgrade the field, but to dig a little deeper and consider other ways we could use the space to benefit staff, students and the wider community.

“The field just happened to be in a great position and easily accessible to key UQ facilities, including the UQ Centre where we hold many important events, including student graduations.

“The carpark features 502 casual car parks including four people-with-disabilities bays and two fast chargers for electric vehicles.

Safety initiatives will be implemented on Sir William McGregor Drive to enable safe access to the 300 plus bike racks and 100 lockers in the carpark area.

“The underground carpark is fairly well hidden, so it’s aesthetically pleasing, and we have plans to landscape the area further.”

The best access to the UQ Centre and the UQ Sport Aquatic Centre is via Union Road, with a link from the UQ Centre to the carpark.

The car park will have a digital signboard linked to UQ’s online web feed so drivers can check the availability of car spaces before they travel and when they arrive.

Mr Pringle said 50,000 people visited the UQ St Lucia Campus on a typical semester weekday, and the University encouraged staff, students and visitors to use public transport or walk or ride where possible.

“We continue to work with TransLink and the Brisbane City Council to ensure active transport options are meeting the needs of our commuters,” he said.

“But for those who do need to park, this will be very convenient.”

The flood-proof playing field, due to open in August 2016, features player dugouts, field scoreboards, LED lighting and a social space.

The north field is a FIFA-level 1 star soccer field and International Hockey Federation (FIH) standard hockey pitch, and the south field is an FIH-accredited hockey pitch.

Both will be used for soccer, hockey, touch, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, rugby training and more.

The development includes a 300,000 litre water tank to help water the synthetic fields to enable faster ball movement for hockey and reduced friction for players, and to help cool the area on hot days.

UQ Global Change Institute Sustainable Water Program Manager Dr Nina Hall said UQ was drawing on its extensive research and knowledge capital to address the complexities of the global water challenge to drive appropriate water management.

“It’s heartening that, while we are initiating changes around the world, we’re also looking for ways to reduce our water use and environmental footprint on our own campus.”

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