A private Canberra academy has submitted a business case and master plan to transform the old Watson high school site into a multi-million dollar education precinct.
The Academy of Interactive Entertainment wants to buy Canberra Technology Park from the ACT Government and spend about $111 million over the next 20 years to refurbish and modernise the northside site.
The goal is to develop the current campus into an innovative hub of learning and job creation, Academy chief executive John De Margheriti says.
Mr De Margheriti – who unveiled the ambitious plan in May last year – said the academy had on Tuesday submitted to the government a detailed business case and draft 20 year master plan.
“We are seeking to acquire the site and should our proposal be accepted the AIE will inject a capital investment of $42 million dollars with an additional $69 million dollars derived from AIE’s operating revenues over the following 20 years,” he said.
“In total we will be contributing $111 million over the next 20 years to support AIE’s vision of making Canberra a modern, more dynamic and innovative city.”
Mr De Margheriti said economic modelling estimated the project would inject $276 million into the ACT economy during the 20 year period.
“We want to support, as a non-profit, the local independent game and film industries, to increase our student enrolments, to continue to be a leading centre of educational excellence and to help create jobs for our younger Canberrans,” he said.
Mr De Margheriti said high priority works included new affordable student accommodation, turning the present hall into a film soundstage, and modernising existing buildings.
The site would also provide facilities for the Watson community such as an all access park, dog park, new tennis courts and outdoor gym.
Mr De Margheriti made the announcement at the Digital Canberra iAwards at the National Gallery of Australia on Tuesday night.
The awards honour companies at the cutting edge of technology and recognises the achievements of Canberra’s innovators.
More than 40 entrants nominated for the territory in the 2015 awards.
The National Blood Authority’s BloodNet Laboratory Information System Interface collected three awards on the night.
The innovative system means hospital blood stocks can be viewed in real time, freeing up hospital staff and allowing the National Blood Authority to better manage supplies.
Hewlett Packard Australia and the Department of Human Services teamed up to win the inclusion and community award with the Dandelion Program, which provides people with Autism Spectrum Disorder skilled employment in ICT software testing.
The Australian Crime Commission was also successful with Fusion Capability, a system which allows 20 agencies to share and analyse information and intelligence to develop collaborative responses to serious and organised crime.
Winners will now represent the ACT at the National iAwards in Melbourne in August.