Red tape holds up green light on university move
THE first batch of university students to go through the new Gympie campus will spend their first semester attending classes at nearby education centres.
Kirra Mieran is one of a dozen nursing students looking forward to attending the University of the Sunshine Coast's new state-of-the-art facility, in the last stages of construction next door to Wide Bay TAFE's Gympie campus.
At yesterday's orientation day, nursing students were assured they would be in the building by the second semester and told the nursing simulation equipment would "blow their socks off".
"The building is fantastic," USC manager Graham Young said.
"We are targeting May for its opening, but students will be in by the second semester."
Mr Young thanked TAFE and nearby James Nash State High School for their assistance in helping the first semester go ahead, as the university had run into red tape, which delayed construction.
USC's $5.5 million investment in Gympie is just the first stage of the university's expansion, which includes another campus at Moreton Bay.
Vice Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the initial building in Gympie was stage one of a campus that would "presumably grow".
He expected the university's long-term investment in education in Gympie would pay dividends quite quickly, with the student population likely to grow rapidly during the next few years.
"By the time students here graduate it is predicted there will be about 1200 students on the Gympie campus," he said.
The first courses offered this year are a Bachelor of Nursing Science, Bachelor of Primary Education and a tertiary bridging program, with 15 students enrolled.
As enrolments increase, the university will be looking at other programs to deliver in Gympie, including business degrees.
Gympie residents who do not receive QTAC offers can apply directly to USC to study its Tertiary Preparation Pathway program by calling 5430 2890.
Successful completion of this four-subject program provides guaranteed entry to most USC degrees.
Miss Mieran is one of many students to enter university the non-traditional way.
She left high school at the beginning of Year 11 to work and once she decided to further her education to become a nurse she gained her tertiary entry requirements through the TAFE's adult tertiary preparation program.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Birgit Lohmann said the Gympie campus was part of the university's plan for "significant growth in the next few years".
"USC will be offering new degrees and for the first time will be offering law," she said.
"It's exciting to be starting up at Gympie."
AT A GLANCE
- USC's Gympie campus is expected to grow from one building to several within the next few years.
- The first stage is a state-of-the-art facility constructed at a cost of around $5.5 million.
- 15 students are enrolled to study at Gympie USC this year.