Today's official unveiling of new teaching and learning facilities at the Port Macquarie campus marks a new milestone in education in the Hastings region.
The University of Newcastle has joined with the NSW and Australian Governments to fund $9 million in capital works that will provide University and TAFE students access to state-of-the-art facilities.
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Crump, said the University was committed to supporting the growth of education in regional centres.
"The University of Newcastle's partnership with TAFE NSW &emdash; North Coast Institute is giving local people access to a range of post-secondary study options without the need to leave the Hastings region," Professor Crump said.
"Young school leavers can stay in their local community and maintain links with the support networks that can be vital to their success, while older students with growing families don't need to relocate to further their education or career prospects."
Capital works include a new building, and the refurbishment of and extension to existing campus amenities.
University students studying a Bachelor of Nursing will benefit through the addition of simulated clinical environments.
New computer laboratories, an extension of the library and learner support centre, and the addition of general purpose facilities, will provide nursing and Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts students with first-class learning space.
Covered walkways connecting the new building and carpark, refurbishment of the canteen and student amenities area, and additional carparking are also part of the upgrade.
Professor Crump said the success of the Port Macquarie campus was the driving force behind the the expansion of facilities.
"University enrolments alone have grown from just 25 students in 2004 to more than 280 in 2008 and the increased demand for places clearly demonstrated the need to expand facilities.
"The University of Newcastle is pleased to have partnered with the NSW and Australian Governments in bringing a new era of education facilities to the Hastings region."
The new facilities will be officially opened today, Wednesday 10 June 2009, at 10am.