College Council Report 2016 – Master Planning Underway

Douglas Porter, Chairman – St John’s College Council


The College Council has met four times during the year. Much of its business has focussed on the implementation of the operational targets in the Strategic Plan which was approved in 2015.

In this Plan the Council agreed that the College’s plant and infrastructure needed to be regularly reviewed and maintained to a high standard, compliant with all the relevant regulations. A Buildings and Grounds Committee was established with Ross Dunning as Chair and including two external members with strong practical and professional experience – Architect Derek Trebilcock and Developer Cameron Mana, who is also Chair of the OJA.

Photo: An artist impression of Foundation Plaza with Fitness Centre and adaptation of Vatican Wing.

This Committee has supported the establishment of a three-year capital management program for the maintenance and refurbishment of existing buildings and initiated a review of the College Master Plan. Last summer, a start was made on the refurbishment of Goodbury Baker, the courtyard to Foundation Court was covered and new floor installed, the refurbishment of Cripps Court 2 was completed and a new electrical main switchboard was installed. This summer the Vatican Wing will be restructured with a bathroom upgrade and the remaining two apartments in Cripps Court 1 will be remodeled to provide four studio rooms for postgraduates.


Cripps Court Building Plan
Photo: Cripps Court original building plans.


The Review of the Master Plan has been undertaken by Ross Meakin the Former UQ Campus Planner and a qualified architect. His recommendations confirm the longstanding policy of providing a balanced approach to built form and open space. He has identified areas for potential building expansion to create additional residential spaces if this is desired (and can be funded) and a major remodeling of the space between the Dining Hall and the river both of which will assist in re-orientating the focus of the College towards the Brisbane River.

The Council has also supported the Foundation in its review of the Scholarships and Bursaries Program through participation in a Joint Scholarships Committee and a contribution to Foundation expenses.

The appointment of a Vice-Warden and Chaplain stimulated greater interest in the Chapel and has resulted in a revamped Senior Resident Program for 2017 along with a strengthening of the Tutorial and Academic support for next year.

Throughout the year our students have demonstrated that we continue to attract high quality undergraduates. I congratulate the Student Club on their ICC sporting and cultural achievements and their strong contribution to community projects.

On the College stewardship front, Rev. Dr James Rigney has resigned as Warden, effective 30 November 2016. The Vice-Warden, Rev. Dr Rodney Wolff, has taken over as Acting Warden and will guide the College through the summer holiday period. Rodney, has held academic appointments at QUT and as Professor of Geostatistics at UQ and has had an association with the College for some years. In his short time as Vice-Warden, he has already done some excellent work in updating the College website, increasing student interest in the Chapel and in facilitating the work of the Scholarships Committee.

The Council will be making a new appointment as Warden early next year and looks forward to working with the new Warden and his colleagues in ensuring that St John’s College continues to be a place of education, religion, learning and research, maintaining its position as a university residential college committed to the development of outstanding students who apply the values and skills nurtured at St John’s to serve society and make a difference.


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