THE $40 million expansion of the Port Macquarie campus of Charles Sturt University (CSU) has been announced securing a bright and vibrant future for tertiary education on the Mid North Coast.
Lahey Constructions has been awarded the construction contract of stage two of the state-of-the-art campus.
This development follows the official opening of the campus in 2016 which has been widely supported by Port Macquarie and the Mid North Coast region and has attracted significant numbers of international and out-of-region students.
CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the University was excited to announce the expansion of the campus and to award it to a local construction firm.
"Our student numbers and forecasts show the current facility will be nearing capacity by the end of next year, which gives us the confidence the expansion is both needed and will be welcomed," Professor Vann said.
"Charles Sturt University is also pleased to support a local firm which will lead the design finalisation, programming cost management, and delivery of the $40 million project."
The stage two development flows from the existing campus via a link way across the adjacent reserve and is intended to be used by students, staff, and the wider community.
The new development will include additional learning and teaching spaces (flat floored and tiered), a laboratory, breakout and meeting spaces, student kitchen and facilities, a space for small events, and additional car parking.
Executive Director of the CSU Division of Facilities Management, Stephen Butt, said Lahey Constructions' tender was impressive, and the firm has a strong reputation.
"Lahey impressed the University with its key values and hands-on approach," Mr Butt said.
"The alignment between the two organisations to work to deliver a second stage reflective of the form and ethos of the initial development is very strong.
"Lahey is well known within the Mid North Coast region and have a number of their key team members residing in the region who have delivered local projects. They bring a 'one team' approach, working with the client in a collaborative partnership in order to achieve the best possible outcome."
Mr Butt said CSU expected the expanded campus will be operational by the start of second semester 2020.
Our student numbers and forecasts show the current facility will be nearing capacity by the end of next year, which gives us the confidence the expansion is both needed and will be welcomed.CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann
The new development will support an additional 1800 students over the existing 1000 currently studying at CSU in Port Macquarie.
Lahey Constructions Executive Director Mr Phil Lahey said the firm had experience successfully delivering tertiary education projects in regional and isolated locations.
"Lahey Constructions brings experience in tertiary education projects and has successfully delivered these in both regional and isolated locations across Australia and takes pride in defect-free handovers to our clients," Mr Lahey said.
"We are also committed to sharing our knowledge, life experiences and expertise with the next generation, making sure there is a sustainable future for the construction industry. We have committed to employing two Charles Sturt University postgraduates in cadet roles for the duration of this project."
The university owns 11 hectares of land off Major Innes Drive.
The multi-level stage one building is set around a landscaped courtyard and welcome its first students in April 2016.
The Port Macquarie campus currently boasts flexible teaching spaces, learning commons and library, student central, specialised simulation space, Indigenous courtyard with an amphitheatre, and administrative areas.
Each bedroom has a bed, desk, chair and ensuite bathroom.
Communal lounge rooms, laundries and kitchens are also available within each building with access to student recreational areas in the adjacent student hub building.
By the end of stage three works, Charles Sturt University is expecting to see around 5,500 students at its Port Macquarie campus.
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