Beechworth facilities to close

Beechworth facilities to close

22 Mar 2011

La Trobe University today confirmed it is to sell its facilities at Beechworth.

Beechworth campusThe Hotel and Conference Centre will close on 23 May 2011 and the site will be prepared for sale.

The decision follows the initial phase of stakeholder consultation and feedback about the proposed closure.

Professor Hal Swerissen, Pro Vice Chancellor (Regional) said that while the community had expressed concern about the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the heritage precinct, no viable alternative to closure and sale had been identified.

‘We no longer have students or courses at the Beechworth site and unfortunately makes a substantial loss, so we really have no responsible alternative.

Professor Swerissen said that the first step in the sale process was to make the site available, for purchase, by other government agencies. This would begin in April and is likely to take several months, during which time further consultation with various stakeholders would also take place.

‘La Trobe University will continue to maintain the grounds and facilities until the property is sold, which is likely to be a lengthy process,’ he said.

Professor Swerissen said the University will work closely with the Indigo Shire Council and Regional Development Victoria to coordinate consultation on the future of the site.

‘We have listened both to the community and on site tenants and are  aware of the concern about the impact that this sale may have on the town’s tourism and commercial activity,’ he said.

Stakeholder consultation in the coming weeks will focus on future possibilities and opportunities for the site. This will inform the future property divestment process that may be initiated following consideration by other government agencies.
 
‘We are anxious to get a good outcome for the site in the future and we want to encourage local initiatives and take the Beechworth community’s concerns on board,’ said Professor Swerissen.

He said that substantial feedback had expressed the hope that community access would continue in a manner that promoted the heritage of the site and provided opportunities to support artistic and cultural activities.

‘We will be looking at the potential for community ownership, access to the heritage areas and the economic impact of the sale on Beechworth.’

Professor Swerissen said that La Trobe University was serious about guiding our Beechworth facilities towards a viable future, as well as looking after staff.

The University purchased the former Mayday Hills Hospital in 1996. The site comprises over 100 hectares and, with its heritage gardens and has many listed buildings dating back to the 1860s.

The primary focus of Beechworth in its early days following La Trobe’s acquisition was for hospitality students, but no students have studied at Beechworth for a number of years.


For more information

Mark Pearce, Media and Communications,
Tel: 0423783756  E:m.pearce@latrobe.edu.au
 

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