NDU vows a friendlier face

NOTRE DAME uni showed its promises to have a friendlier presence in the West End of Fremantle have a bit more substance this time around, with Prindiville Hall being gutted as it starts of a revamp of its street-level presence.

Fremantle council approved the uni’s plans – based on designs by local architects CODA – which include a new piazza next to the hall on Mouat Street, new commercial outlets further up the street on the corner of High Street, parklets and a “gateway” park.

Notre Dame’s head of campus, Selma Halliex, says the aim is to enhance the uni’s social, pedestrian-friendly environment at street level and promote more diversity and activity.

“We are planning street-edge activation in the form of new paving, seating, lighting and creative shade structures – a variety of permanent, semi-permanent and temporary items to encourage people to gather, engage, relax and enjoy the campus and West End,” Prof Halliex told the Herald.

• Prof Selma Halliex says Notre Dame’s serious about engaging more with the community.

“We are also looking to enhance our green spaces through the planting of trees and construction of parklets along Mouat Street.”

She said NDU had been working with CODA on an overhaul of Prindiville Hall, which will include a nod to its past as a rope factory. The upgraded space would include a student kitchen, extended mezzanine level, USB charging points, a student green and accessible toilets.

“And there will be provision for a drive-through for food trucks so that we can offer a range of food and beverage options,” Prof Halliex said.

Already the uni has handed Quinlans restaurant to affiliate Empyrean Education Institution and Prof Halliex says there’s been discussions with other businesses interested in renting along High Street.

“A number of additional projects are planned for High Street, which we are in the process of developing.”

She says attracting past and present students back to the area will be a focus, but key to the project will be making the space work for all residents and visitors.

But the proposed changes haven’t thrilled Fremantle Society president John Dowson, who looked aghast at the mention of parklets, saying the uni should have spent its money doing some more sensitive renovations to its buildings in order to attract more people to the area to enjoy its heritage.

by STEVE GRANT

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