Professor Rajesh Chandra Vice-Chancellor and President and Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, during the ground breaking ceremony.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new entrance from the Queen Elizabeth Drive on 22 June 2018.
The event was attended by the Pro-Chancellor, Mr Winston Thompson; Vice-President Regional Campuses, Estates and Infrastructure, Dr Giulio Masasso Paunga; members of Senior Management Team and Senior Staff members; representatives of the Fiji Roads Authority; representatives of the Contractor, China Railway First Group (Fiji) Co. Ltd; representatives of the Consulting Engineers, Wood and Jepson; representatives from the Suva City Council; and members of USP student body.
In his keynote address, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President said that the construction of the new gate and entry will fundamentally reshape the orientation of the University and is in line with its Masterplan to ensure a more organised and planned campus infrastructure.
He stated that the traffic congestion along the front gate and the risk to the students can now be seen and will only worsen in the future with further commercial developments around Damodar City.
Professor Chandra said that when the new gate is completed, the current entrance gate to vehicle traffic will become a pedestrian only gate.
This, he added, will not only reduce traffic congestion along Laucala Bay road especially during peak hours and when major events are being held in the Fiji Sports Council areas, bit it will also create a much safer zone for USP students, staff, visitors and other pedestrians along the area.
He confirmed that the road construction works tender has been award to China railway First Group (Fiji) Ltd, a company that already has a reputation for good projects and buildings and the road.
The new gate and road has been designed by Wood and Jepson who are the Consulting Engineers of the project.
The completed construction will comprise a 300-metre concrete paved road from the Queen Elizabeth Road to Moana drive in front of the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) Postgraduate Lecture Theatre.
“It will also have a larger concrete paved car parking area than our current student car part with better lighting and security camera coverage, security booth with improved side parking for visitors who need to stop at the security booth,” Professor Chandra said.
He added that the road design is suitably wide to manage incoming and outgoing traffic better within the University with minimal effect on traffic along the main road.
According to Professor Chandra, students will also be provided with improved bus bay area and bus shelter.
“We have also been mindful of the mangroves in this area and have chosen to preserve and protect it from any depletion and will utilise it to be part of the aesthetics for the new road and gate,” he noted.
The overall cost of this project is about FJD 4.4 million and the project is expected to be completed before the end of the 50th Anniversary year.
Professor Chandra said that the construction of the new entry road and gate is part of a much larger effort by the University to improve its physical assets in the last ten (10) years.
He further added that after no investment in student accommodation for thirty (30) years, USP has invested heavily to build the 10th and 11th halls of residence, adding 288 beds, with plans for 12th hall for a further 400 beds.
As well, the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre, worth FJD 70 million, has changed the University’s skyline and stands as one of the most advanced University ICT infrastructure in the whole Australasian region.
Other significant capital developments during the last ten (10) years have seen a new Nauru Campus at around FJD 15.5 million, the geospatial lab at around FJD 389, 000, the Republic of Marshall Islands campus renovation works in 2017 costing around FJD 3.37 million.
In 2016, the University built its 4th year engineering lab for around FJD 880, 000 and in 2015, the Kiribati Campus worth FJD 5.7 million was built.
Professor Chandra noted that all such investments are part of the University’s push for excellence in teaching, research, innovation and service to the University’s stakeholders.
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