Youth on a mission at former city TAFE
SINCE relocating to their new premises in the Townsville central business district nearly two years ago, the Youth With a Mission team has transformed the former Barrier Reef TAFE.
With capacity to house 300 students in dormitory accommodation, the refit of the YWAM campus on Walker St is seen as the type of development needed to achieve the Townsville City Council’s vision to have 30,000 people living in the CBD by 2030.
YWAM took over the 9000sqm property in August 2013 under a long- term lease agreement with the council.
The hollow shell of the former TAFE has since been revamped into a hub for training, activities for local youth and a headquarters for YWAM’s medical ship that delivers healthcare and training in Papua New Guinea.
The refit includes student and staff accommodation, a dining room and cafe and a freshly landscaped courtyard.
YWAM Townsville managing director Ken Mulligan said the goal was to preserve the unique heritage of the building, while maximising the existing facilities, space and location of the campus.
“It’s been wonderful seeing the place come alive again over the past 18 months – we have 230 of our volunteers and students from 23 nations living on campus with room for many more,” Mr Mulligan said.
“Our ship also attracts hundreds of medical and marine volunteers every year.
“This facility has given us the platform to be able to expand our work throughout North Queensland and into Papua New Guinea.”
More than 80 local businesses contributed to the development and its $ 5 million value has doubled.
Mayor Jenny Hill said YWAM was making a substantial economic and social contribution to the city.
“It has been an extremely pleasing result for a prime inner- city site, which, without the council’s intervention, could well have been left to deteriorate,” she said.
The council’s Corporate Governance Committee yesterday supported a report recommending the deferment of a $ 2.6 million repayment due in December.