New USP Campus in Honiara ready for official opening
By IAN KAUKUI
The first phase of the new University of the South Pacific (USP) campus in Honiara has already been completed and ready for its official opening in May this year.
USP Solomon Islands Campus Director, Dr. Billy Fito’o told the local media during a recent tour to the facility.
Dr. Fito’o said there are reserved spaces for the second and third phase to complete the whole campus.
He said the campus will offer medical programs including students’ and staff accommodations.
“This will be the main public health school for USP in the region as USP doesn’t have any. When the campus will accommodate all the students around the region who will be doing public health programs.
“Besides that, the school will still provide the entire courses but the public health will be an anchored program, just like in Vanuatu for Law and Samoa for Agriculture,” he added.
The school has enough classroom spaces unlike the Lawson tama campus which was designed during the 1970s to accommodate only more than 150 students.
Over the past years they have to engage the SMI area because last year alone they had enrolled 3,500 students and expected to enroll more than 4,000 students this year.
Dr. Fito’o said the establishment of the campus will help the government in lowering the expenses of sending students abroad as most of them would just do their studies in the country.
Meanwhile, Contract Engineer Daniel Tucker of Kramer Ausenco Solomon Islands said despite many challenges encountered during the course of the project, they have managed to complete the first phase.
Mr. Tucker said as part of the USP building requirements, the construction has to meet several standards related to disaster management, accessibility to all without discrimination, sustainability aspects and to withstand bigger magnitude earthquakes.
He said the construction was also special as the contractor used the initiative of purchasing round logs in the country and taking them across to China, treating the product and then having them cut to the required dimensions before it is brought back to Solomon Islands.
“Also a lot of effort has been put into trying to make sure the design conforms to energy efficiency so we would have noted that solar aspects, the lighting aspects which mainly led lighting throughout the buildings and there’s also censors buildings to be triggered when people walked in there’s lights automatically comes on.
“We also have a water supply system, rainwater harvesting to the main building where it directs the flow of water coming off the roof into the tanks at the back and we also have central air condition systems,” he added.
Mr. Tucker more than 12 million US dollars has been spent so far on the current phase of the facility.