The Learning Commons

Project Director: Wendy Li-Siaw

Project summary/description:

The University is committed to delivering better learning infrastructure, prioritising the enhancement of student learning experience and in meeting its Future Ready strategic goals.

Following the completion of the new La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS) building, the Physical Sciences 3 (PS3) Building was the first building identified in the Melbourne Campus suitable for adaptive reuse, as the four storey 4000m2 wet labs remained largely vacant.

Feasibility studies were completed in December 2012, with a Business Case being put forward to transform the PS3 building into teaching and learning spaces with the main focus on student learning.

The Project was completed in July 2015 and was formally opened by the Vice Chancellor, John Dewar on 10th August 2015.  Prof Jane Long, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, was the Project Sponsor of the Project Control Group governing the project from inception to completion.

The project objectives were:

  • Student focus building
  • To create a new state of the art , technology rich, modern teaching spaces with the focus on collaborative learning
  • To create new inspiring informal learning spaces to promote interactive peer to peer engagement
  • To address back log liabilities
  • To improve space utilisation

Project Details – Statistics

  • 3600m2 excluding LIMS store
  • 2 interactive lecture theatres featuring moveable seats and shared desks between rows allowing the ability to switch between lecture and group work
  • 16 exemplar contemporary  flat floor teaching spaces of 30-40 seat in fixed  / flexible furniture arrangement – collaborative teaching space / modern curriculum delivery
  • 4 floors of informal learning areas ( 320 approx seats)
  • 1 x modern wet lab for Outreach program ( high school students to coming into LTU)
  • 1 x flat floor teaching space dedicated for Outreach ASSC and SHE use
  • 1 front of house spacious atrium entry space with adjoining industry event space on L1
  • 1 x designated staff/ student learning support hub on L2
  • 1 x technology brainstorm room on L3 – giant immersive projection screen
  • 1 x student chill out lounge with fire place and Hogwarts-esque table on L4
  • Expansive  whiteboard writing surfaces throughput the building
Building services and Technology:
  • On the spot interactive room booking systems to group alcoves and teaching spaces to increase space utilisation
  • State of the art student accessible audio visual facilities for presentation / discussions
  • High density wifi reception
  • Laptop charging stations
  • Whole building fully air – conditioned


Project inception Dec 2012 – feasibility

Project Completed July 2015


  • Project budget $18M

Project Team Consultants

 Feasibility Principal Consultants Spowers
 Feasibility Services Consultants LEHR Consulting International
 Project Manager Johnstaff
 Quantity Surveyor Prowse Quantity Surveyors
 Principal Architect Spowers
 Building Surveyors Gardner Group
 Structural Engineers Bonnaci Group
 Services Consultant LEHR Consulting International
 Environmental Consultant Noel Arnolds
Main works contractorKane Construction
AV contractorRutledge

How do we find out more?

Staffs are welcome to contact the Project Director Wendy Li-Siaw on 9479 1298 with any queries.

Project updates

Last updated: 25 September 2015