Tokyo-based Nihon University's first international campus - established on the site of the former historic Newcastle courthouse - is ready for its first students.
The site's $49 million transformation was completed in mid-September, however, COVID restrictions mean Japanese students will not arrive at the campus until early next year.
The international students will study English and exchange cultural and academic knowledge during their three-month stay.
The three-year project has involved the restoration of the 1890s court house including the preservation of many original features such as the courtrooms' timber panelling.
The original holding cell has also been transformed into a point of interest.
Two new four-storey buildings, to be used for education and student accommodation, have been constructed on either side.
"I'm incredibly proud of the work done by everyone in the team who contributed to such a quality outcome," Built project manager Ben Moss said.
"The project had quite a few technically difficult aspects, particularly to maintain heritage aspects while also ensuring the building could be adapted to meet the needs of students for generations to come.
"The building has a strong history in the community, and I'm pleased to see it not only brought back to its former glory but reimagined as a world-class learning facility that integrates Japanese architecture, making it a truly unique project to deliver."
Founded in 1889 as the Nihon Law School, the privately owned institution has about 75,000 undergraduate students across various colleges and campuses, studying a full suite of subjects from medicine and dentistry through to science, technology, economics and the arts.
It has previously said its vision for the Newcastle campus is to serve as a "hub for international mutual exchange programs between Australian and Japanese students promoting and understanding Japanese culture".
University of Newcastle's law faculty will use the original courtrooms for mock trials as part of a memorandum agreement with Nihon.
The restored courthouse building will be open for public tours during heritage events and festivals.
Japanese architect practice Azusa Sekkei designed the campus, incorporating elements of traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture.
The minimalist features of the new structure are designed to complement the heritage building by creating a contrast between the old and new.
"The most interesting architectural aspect of the project was dealing with the original state heritage-listed courthouse building which required a significant refurbishment and restoration process. This has resulted in an outstanding interpretation of the history of the building," Katherine Daunt, design director at Azusa Sekkei's Australian partner dwp said.
About 97 per cent of waste generated during construction was recycled and diverted from landfill.
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