Building work to begin on Southland campus

Work is about to start on yet another new University of Otago building —  a $1.5 million education and research centre in Invercargill, to be created in partnership with the Southern District Health Board.

The Health Sciences Southland Education and Research Centre will be developed on the ground floor of SDHB’s education building, on the Dunedin School of Medicine’s Southland Hospital campus.

Construction on the 443sqm complex will begin next week, and the building is due to be operational in  February. It will house teaching rooms, study spaces, video conferencing facilities, space for research and consultation rooms. The announcement comes after the university announced plans for a $150 million  building on its Christchurch health science campus  and to redevelop the campus building in Riccarton Rd were announced in September. In August, the university also announced plans for a $28.8 million dental teaching facility in South Auckland, to be completed in 2020.  School of Medicine dean  Barry Taylor said yesterday there were inadequate facilities to support staff and students on placement or based at Southland Hospital.

Between 20 and 40 students from the university  were based on the Southland campus on placements at any one time.

The majority of them were medical students. Other  disciplines included  pharmacy and physiotherapy. Prof Taylor said he wanted to see a much broader representation of health sciences students going to Invercargill in the future.  SDHB staff would also be able to use the facilities and spaces in the new building.

"We hope that a range of health professionals will utilise the centre," he said.

It would provide a research base  for SDHB staff  to "answer the questions that are relevant to Southland", Prof Taylor said.

The SDHB would also allow students to use their simulation unit, on the first floor. 

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