Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate, opens the new 11th Halls of Residence at USP’s Laucala Campus in Suva. Photo: USP
By ANA SOVA
The University of the South Pacific (USP) has opened its 11th Halls of Residence at its Laucala Campus in Suva, costing FJ$9.3million.
The residence was officially opened by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate yesterday.
The 11th Hall was financed through a loan of F$7.5 million from the Fiji National Provident Fund and $1.8 million from Australian Pacific Technical College.
The eight buildings have three floors each, each floor consisting of an eight bedroom multi-share with its own hot water showers, bathrooms, toilets, washing machines, kitchen and cooking facilities.
Kitchens are equipped with electric hot plates, refrigerators and microwave ovens.
Dining tables, chairs, couches, TV and wireless facilities are also provided in each apartment.
The apartments are designed with generous common spaces to foster intellectual and social interaction for lasting friendships, academic stimulation and fun.
Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Rajesh Chandra said the demand for more student accommodation has always been high, given the increasing number of the regional and international student population, as well as Fiji students from outside the Suva area needing on-campus accommodation.
Professor Chandra added, since 2014, USP has been recording, on average, a five per cent increase in student numbers and the new halls now allow 192 more students to live within the Laucala Campus community.
“The University believes that staying on the campus contributes to student success and well-being and promotes our aim of promoting regionalism, and understanding and mutual respect for the diverse Pacific communities,” Professor Chandra said.
He said the provision of accommodation is a basic student support facility that is part and parcel of an excellent university.
“Such support enhances the study environment for students who are pursuing their studies in accredited and recognised programmes thus adding to the University’s objective of attaining excellence throughout,” Professor Chandra said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Usamate said the Fijian Government applauded USP for its efforts in ensuring that students have safe and secure accommodation in their pursuit for higher learning.
“We also appreciate that regional students from other member countries of USP will also benefit from an increased availability of accommodation,” he said.
Mr. Usamate added there were many factors that bear on student success rates and a good, safe and clean place to live with adequate educational facilities is very important.
“We have students that travelled from many places in Fiji and across the region and beyond to come to study at the Laucala Campus. Good quality, affordable accommodation is critical to success at University,” he said.
Mr. Usamate said he was delighted to see that USP has made provisions for student accommodation as one of its key strategic objectives.
“Four years ago, USP built the 10th Hall and today we are here to witness the opening of the 11th Hall,”
“I understand that work has started for the 12th Hall, a FJD$20million, 420 bed project. I would like to congratulate the Vice-Chancellor and President for his leadership in making this happen,” he said.