Southern Cross University’s new Allied Health Building is the talk of Coffs Harbour, with construction of the $12m project well under way.
Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker said the state-of-the-art facility, set to be completed late this year, will house the University’s innovative allied health degrees and research on offer.
“We are redefining Coffs Harbour as an education destination, training a new generation of occupational therapists, exercise scientists, psychologists, indigenous health and mental health practitioners alongside our nurses right here in the city,” he said.
Designed by architects at Design Worldwide Partnership, the two-storey building will provide multi-purpose teaching and research spaces, fitted with a range of high-tech laboratories including a movement lab, a high performance lab, an activity of daily living lab, personal skills labs, an advanced life support lab, a simulation lab and manual therapy labs. It is being built by Woollam Constructions.
Head of Southern Cross University Coffs Harbour campus Professor Les Christidis said the building design seeks inspiration from the 'bio-mechanics of movement'. He said concrete slabs had been poured for the ground floor and level two with ground floor structural steel in place along the internal stud walls.
“We are very excited that ground floor mechanical and electrical rough-in works have commenced, and external services works have been continuing along with the car park,” he said.
“This building is transformational for Coffs Harbour, set to become a gateway for the health precinct that will attract community usage, visible from Coffs Harbour’s main road Hogbin Drive and west of the existing sporting precinct.”
The building will become the new focal point for Southern Cross University, which is set on rolling hills and bushland in close proximity to beaches and the city centre, with capacity for future stages to be built as University demand increases.
“An integrated movement running track begins outside by the lake then passes through the building for student coursework in bio-mechanical movement,” Professor Christidis said.
“And there is a strong Indigenous component to the building: an outdoor teaching space that will be used by local Elders for yarning and healing circles, an indigenous garden showcasing local food and medicinal plants, specially commissioned indigenous artworks to link the outside and inside teaching spaces, and dual signage in English and Gumbaynggirr.”
The design has taken into consideration sustainability features like a north-facing primary entrance and installation of integrated passive solar shading devices (screens and hoods) to minimise building energy consumption. It will be the first building of its type in Coffs Harbour.
Southern Cross’ psychology program was last week rated best in the country in the QILT national student feedback survey released by the Federal Government. The University is experiencing strong enrolments and will welcome more than 500 students to Coffs Harbour over the next three years, underpinned by new courses including Occupational Therapy and the new double degree in Exercise Science and Psychological Science.
The federal Coalition government has not only backed Phase One of the construction of the building with the $12 million grant, it has also guaranteed an additional $12.9 million over four years for student places in a range of health-related disciplines at the Coffs Harbour campus.
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