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New campus facilities include sports centre, student hub and research laboratories 

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The University of the Sunshine Coast continues to grow, with the opening of three new buildings at its Petrie campus.

The new facilities sit opposite the UniSC Moreton Bay foundation building, adding a further 12,500sqm to the existing floor space of 16,000sqm.

The $100 million project was stage two of the campus construction, which has totalled $240 million so far.

UniSC Vice-Chancellor and president Professor Helen Bartlett said the opening of the buildings represented a significant step in realising a grand vision for a major university campus there.

“These new buildings will provide students with more areas to study, collaborate and socialise,” she said via a UniSC media release.

“Ever since we decided to build our university campus here, we have had an ambitious vision for a comprehensive modern campus, and it’s wonderful seeing that come to life.”

The buildings include additional teaching and learning spaces, research laboratories, an industry hub and event space, student gym and sports hall, sports science facility, student social spaces, an Indigenous engagement and success space, outdoor spaces and amenities as well as multi-level parking.

Scientists based at the campus will continue their local research from the new state-of-the-art laboratories.

This includes Dr Dominique Potvin, whose animal ecology research focuses often on local birdlife including the famous white ibis, and Dr Ben Gilby whose coastal and marine research includes the restoration of oyster reefs.

Scientists will be based at the campus.

Other research being conducted at the campus includes partnering with City of Moreton Bay building entrepreneurial talent, resilience building, economic development and building reputation in this space.

Professor Bartlett said that with 4700 current students studying close to 90 programs at Moreton Bay, the campus growth had exceeded expectations.

“There was enormous demand for a university campus at Moreton Bay before UniSC arrived, and we continue to see many non-school leavers enrolling as well as the traditional school leaver cohort from local secondary schools,” she said.

While 70 per cent of students are from Moreton Bay, with a further 17 per cent of students from Brisbane, proving that the campus also continues to attract students from further afield.

Professor Bartlett said the campus was closely aligned with the City of Moreton Bay plans for growth and prosperity, and a projected population increase to 700,000 in 20 years.

“We have worked closely with council, including to develop on-campus opportunities for business leaders to connect with researchers, industry experts and a pipeline of skilled graduates so they can innovate and build their businesses with new skills and knowledge,” she said.

This includes a co-working space that opened on campus in February and an event space specifically designed to host external groups on campus.

The university’s new facilities boast impressive design and structure.

“We are ensuring we align graduates with growth industries in Moreton Bay and beyond and connecting our researchers with the community to meet local and global challenges,” Professor Bartlett said.

Popular programs at UniSC Moreton Bay include Nursing Science, Primary Education, Social Work, Biomedical Science and the university’s introductory program Tertiary Preparation Pathway.

“The statistics on first in family, Indigenous enrolment and enrolment of those with an identified disability demonstrates the success of our vision to create accessible pathways to education and an inclusive learning environment,” Professor Bartlett said.

With a rapidly growing population, City of Moreton Bay mayor Peter Flannery welcomed the expansion of the UniSC campus at Petrie.

There is strong demand for tertiary education at Moreton Bay, one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

“Over 40 per cent of students at the Moreton Bay campus are the first in their family to study and 70 per cent are Moreton Bay residents; we know this demand will just grow,” he said.

“Not only is this increasingly important for our city, with graduates looking to fill the surging local job market, it further boosts our economy.

“City of Moreton Bay continues to work closely with UniSC to enable local businesses to take advantage of the knowledge and innovation the University brings to the area.

“Co-locating start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators alongside students and researchers is a way for businesses to connect with their future workforce and drive additional opportunities for collaboration.

“These additional research laboratories, teaching and learning spaces, industry hub and student social spaces further enhance the state-of-the-art facilities at UniSC Moreton Bay and represent another significant step for the vision we have for this campus to be a University of choice, especially for local students.”

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