Charles Sturt University, state government's $61m investment in stage 2 of Port Macquarie campus

Expansion plans: Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, deputy vice-chancellor research, development and industry), Professor Heather Cavanagh and vice-chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann.
Expansion plans: Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, deputy vice-chancellor research, development and industry), Professor Heather Cavanagh and vice-chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann.

Charles Sturt University will invest $46 million on stage 2 of its Port Macquarie campus.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann made the announcement on Thursday, February 7.

The state government will also contribute a further $15m to the project.

Prof Vann said the delivery of stage 2 was brought on by the enormous success of the Port Macquarie campus.

"We have been pleasantly surprised by the growth at the campus," he said.

"At CSU we believe that we must not stand still and that we need to make things happen.

"Thanks to all our staff we have made an enormous difference to the Port Macquarie community.

"Our role is to create a campus that is fit for the future for Port Macquarie and the Mid-North Coast.

"This next stage of growth will be developed on the southern side of the existing campus," he said.

"Once completed in 2021 it will be roughly a replica of the existing buildings - doubling the size. We expect a further 400 international students to be part of family."

Prof Vann acknowledged there were risks involved in bringing the CSU campus to Port Macquarie.

"But it was plain to see from the work that we had done that there was a real need in this community to advance higher education in this region," he added.

Stage 2 will include classrooms that are flexible and allow diverse area suitable for small group work.

Bachelor of Nursing will be offered in 2020 which will see more specialist labs provided.

The Port Macquarie campus currently boasts some 1000 students. The projected numbers will rise to 2800 once stage 2 comes online.

Once established, CSU is likely to inject $80m per year into the community.

With student accommodation running out, Prof Vann said that will be another area of expansion.

"It will also help build a strong sense of community," he added.

Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams described the success of CSU in Port Macquarie as an all round great story.

"This expansion brings opportunity for students and the creation of local jobs," she said.

"It is also exciting to see the expansion of more courses, particularly the bachelor of nursing along with emergency services' courses.

"CSU is successful because of its engagement with the community.

"That engagement involved CSU understanding what this community wanted from their university," she said.

"We also know that students are attending this campus from our local region who would simply not have had that opportunity.

"For some, they are a first in family to start their university studies."

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Development and Industry, Professor Heather Cavanagh said the announcement cements that CSU is here to stay and here to grow.

"This announcement reflects CSU's commitment to community and to regional workforce planning," she said.

"We are aware of our responsibility to contribute to the regional economy while (CSU's success) is testament to the community because they have supported the university from the word go.

We are aware of our responsibility to contribute to the regional economy while (CSU's success) is testament to the community because they have supported the university from the word go.

Professor Heather Cavanagh

"It became an almost immediate partnership and it took everyone by surprise.

"The community is using this campus more and more," she said.

"As well, when we go to the community for an event or for assistance, the people bend over backwards to help."

Along with the Bachelor of Nursing, Prof Cavanagh said she was pleased to see a range of science courses being provided in stage 2 while health courses and social and humanities courses would expand.

"Stage 2 will let us provide more offerings for the local community," she added.

Prof Cavanagh said CSU regularly consults with the community regarding their future workforce planning shortages and where those shortfalls are.

"We consistently have the highest graduate employment rate in the country. We do that because we make sure our graduates can get jobs," she said.

"If we can continue to provide graduates in jobs in regional Australia that is a win-win situation."

Prof Vann said CSU would instigate discussions with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and stakeholders on the education master plan for the area.

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