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BESIX Watpac has been appointed to build the $94 million Technology Innovation Complex (TIC) for James Cook University in Townsville.

Site preparations have already begun and construction is set to kick off next month.

The project is expected to directly create about 300 construction jobs and at least 80 per cent of subcontractors and suppliers are to be locally sourced.

The university says the four-storey, 9400sq m TIC will be the centrepiece of an innovation hub in which undergraduate and postgraduate engineering and IT students will work with industry partners and researchers.

Strong history of JCU projects

BESIX Watpac northern area manager Wade Cummins said the Queensland-headquartered company had a history of successfully partnering with JCU to deliver top-quality facilities within North Queensland.

“The project builds on the company’s strong relationship with the university and BESIX Watpac’s experience in delivering world-class facilities including JCU’s Australian Tropical Science & Innovation Precinct, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine facilities in Townsville, and the JCU Ideas Lab in Cairns,” he said.

“BESIX Watpac is proud to be delivering this facility for James Cook University and we are excited by the opportunity to be involved in the project, which will contribute to the development of engineering and STEM graduates for generations to come.

“We look forward to working with local subcontractors and suppliers to deliver an exceptional building for JCU.”

Mr Cummins said the company had set a target of 6 per cent Indigenous employment on this project.

“But we are confident we can actually achieve a much higher rate in line with the 11.6 per cent achieved on the stadium, 12.3 per cent at Sun Metals and 11.7 per cent on the JCU Ideas Lab in Cairns,” Mr Cummins said.

The Federal Government has provided a loan of up to $96 million from its Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to develop the TIC.

It is being built on Mount Stuart St at JCU’s Bebegu Yumba (Townsville) campus, adjacent to new student accommodation which is also under construction.