Work on state-of-the-art R85 million health sciences facility at Walter Sisulu University’s in Mthatha now underway.
The new facility, funded by the Department of Higher Education’s Infrastructure and Efficiency Fund, and the Clinical Fund, aims to improve and increase research and academic output.
“Once complete, this world-class campus will house and educate 2,000 medical students who can effectively respond to the region’s local conditions. We want to do more in responding to the needs of the communities we serve,” says WSU Interim Vice Chancellor Prof Khaya Mfenyana.
Mfenyana says eventually all health science operations will be migrated to the new faculty.
He says the project is critical to consolidating and controlling operations, and creating cohesion for the faculty. This will lead to favourable conditions for maximum academic performance and research output.
“The University is one of world’s top eight medical faculties in problem-based community learning. With the faculty being strategically positioned and in close proximity to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and the Health Resource Centre, it means operations such as administration, research, teaching and learning and training will be seamless. We will be able maintain the standard we’ve set,” adds Mfenyana.
Head of Infrastructure in the University’s Projects Management Office, Siya Myaiza says the project will be constructed in three phases.
The first phase, currently underway, should be completed in late 2015. This includes bulk services infrastructure, earthworks, an administration building, a teaching facility for 600 students and a gatehouse.
The Administration Building will be a 4,500m² double-storey structure that will house six clinical offices and 14 smaller clinical offices with two large boardrooms.
The teaching facility will be a 1,350m² double storey building that will be the focal point when entering the campus. On the ground floor, the building will house 10 lecture halls; each will be able to accommodate 60 students. The first floor will comprise 20 smaller tutorial rooms.
“The building’s design is modern; true to its time, region and context with ‘significant’ elegance. Most importantly, the buildings are designed for a flourishing and ideal teaching and learning environment,” says Mnyaiza.
Phase two of the project will see the construction of residences, an auditorium, a research lab, a library, computer labs, student common rooms and a campus cafeteria.
Construction on the last phase of the facility will include more residences and another auditorium, along with campus shops, teaching facilities and health sciences departments.
“The latest development is a clear indication of the strides being gained by the University to turn its fortunes around through its turnaround strategy,” says the University Spokesperson Angela Church.
“One of the major focuses of this turnaround strategy is to create infrastructure that allows for a conducive living, working and teaching and learning environment for our staff and students.
“Through this project, we are honouring these deliverables so we can produce quality graduates equipped with the necessary tools to help improve and add value to the community,” ends Church.