In great news for higher education in Port Macquarie, Charles Sturt University has committed millions of dollars for the second stage of construction in 2018.
With a budget of over $49 million, stage two of the development will include extra teaching and learning spaces, laboratories, staff accommodation, student spaces for recreation and an expansion of the learning commons for individual study and group work, along with a new 150-space car park.
Head of Campus at CSU in Port Macquarie, Professor Heather Cavanagh, said it was an exciting time for both the university and Port Macquarie.
“The vision is for the first stage of the campus to flow into stage two and they will be joined by a sheltered link way interspersed with courtyards and active outdoor spaces for students to enjoy.
“The learning commons for students will remain at the heart of the campus in its original position but expanded to cater for the growing student load.
“We hope early construction work will start on site by mid-2018 and construction will be completed by the end of 2019, for occupation by the start of 2020.
“We are also looking at the possibilities of an art gallery, allied health clinic and innovation hub, and, although not funded at this stage, these would enhance the local community’s engagement with the campus,” Professor Cavanagh said.
Numerous consultations on what’s needed in stage two and beyond were held in Port Macquarie between May and September this year and Professor Cavanagh said that from humble beginnings of 34 students, the expansion will see more than 4000 extra students come to Port Macquarie.
“When we opened the Port Macquarie campus we had 34 students, and over the five years we have been in town we expanded to more than 1000 students; and by the end of stage three we are expecting to see around 5,500 students on our campus,” she said.
On top of the works in 2018, students will move into the new 250-bed residential accommodation, which includes individual rooms with ensuite bathrooms and communal living spaces in February 2018.
CSU is also introducing four new courses at Port Macquarie in 2018 to bring the number of undergraduate and postgraduate programs offered on the campus to 22.
It’s an exciting time for Charles Sturt University and for Port Macquarie as we embark on the next stage of development at Port Macquarie.Professor Heather Cavanagh
The new courses are Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, Master of Customs Administration, Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management, and Bachelor of Applied Science (Parks, Recreation and Heritage) and Professor Cavanagh said with more classrooms, more programs will be offered.
“We are also exploring the possibility of offering nursing from 2019.
“As an organisation we are investing in the economic and social development of the Mid North Coast and we are continually monitoring the skills which are needed.
“It’s an exciting time for Charles Sturt University and for Port Macquarie as we embark on the next stage of development at Port Macquarie.
“What we have developed and are developing are new purpose-built facilities to offer a real campus experience for our students at the same time as expanding the higher education opportunities for the Mid North Coast and beyond.”