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Ground ready ahead of construction of new allied health building at Coffs Harbour campus


Sharlene King
30 August 2018

Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus is one step closer to boosting its health precinct credentials, with the first sod turned at the site of the new Allied Health Building today.

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker joined with local Indigenous Elders Aunty Beatrice Ballangarry and Uncle Kevin (Porky) Ballangarry to share the honour of breaking the ground with the University’s Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor AM and Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker.

The federal Coalition government has not only backed Phase One of the construction of the building with a $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.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said construction of the long-awaited facility is an exciting step forward for people seeking a career as members of health care teams tasked with delivering a range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic and direct patient care and support services.

“The new building – complete with seven laboratories and therapy rooms, a sheltered outdoor learning space and internal and external running track – will provide essential opportunities for local and interstate students,” Mr McCormack said.

“Once complete, the regional campus, located at Southern Cross University, will enable more people to engage in a wider range of medical and allied health studies.

“New university-level courses will finally be available to students including in the highly sought after areas of Occupational Therapy, a joint degree in Exercise science and Psychology, as well as Indigenous Health and Mental Health.” 

Mr Hartsuyker said the new building would substantially strengthen the Coffs Harbour campus.

“The evidence is in that students trained in regional areas are more likely to practice there. This building will provide a significant pipeline of new allied health professionals into the future.”

Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker welcomed everyone to the event.

“We are thrilled to mark this occasion together with local Elders, members of government and community,” Professor Shoemaker said.

“When completed, this state-of-the-art facility will enable Southern Cross to deliver a range of new allied health degrees from 2019 – training a new generation of occupational therapists, exercise scientists, indigenous health and mental health practitioners right here in Coffs Harbour. This is transformational.” 

Construction of the Allied Health Building is expected to begin in late October, with expected completion in late 2019.

Designed by architects 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.

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.