United: Brenton Lewis, Sarah Lance, Tony Pasin, Michael Sedgman, Ruth Mussger, Kaye Mathwin-Cox, Bruce Hicks, Robin O’Dea and Vanessa Liebelt. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Higher education students living in Murray Bridge and surrounds will soon be able to work together at a state-of-the-art study hub.
The hub will be established in the McLaren Building at Murray Bridge’s TAFE campus following confirmation of a $270,000 federal grant.
It will be open to anyone, whether they are enrolled at TAFE, a university or another provider.
The building’s entrance and reception area will be revamped; and quiet areas, moveable furniture, glass-walled meeting rooms, hot desks, and a common room with a kitchen will be built inside.
Better gathering and meeting spaces will also be established outside, with updated lighting and landscaping.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin announced the grant at the campus on Wednesday, and said the hub would have flow-on benefits throughout the community.
“It will provide better quality education, will create opportunities and address many of the barriers to further education in the region of Murray Bridge,” he said.
“Projects like this will help make Murray Bridge an appealing place to live, resulting in better retention of regional skills and talent, and improved capacity to attract skilled career-development staff who are essential to the growth and resilience of this region.”
TAFE SA’s Robin O’Dea hoped improving students’ on-campus experience would lead to ideas-sharing and entrepreneurship.
“Improved facilities will also enable new higher education programs from TAFE SA and, potentially, include university courses to advance regional skills, knowledge and qualifications,” he said.
“This development confirms the long-term future of the Murray Bridge campus.”
Regional manager Sarah Lance said the learning hub would provide the training people wanted and businesses needed.
Mayor Brenton Lewis credited the collaboration between TAFE SA, local councils and secondary schools, Regional Development Australia and major employers for bringing their shared vision – of a revitalised centre for learning and innovation on Swanport Road – one step closer to reality.
“It will be up to the community and working group to lead us to the next level,” he said.
“We want to be known as a learning, earning community; we’re not there yet, but we’re on our journey.”
By 2025, council chief executive officer Michael Sedgman said, Murray Bridge would be a recognised centre for regional education, business growth and career and lifestyle opportunities.
He said the grant would act as a catalyst for further development.
Ms Lance flagged the student hub plan in May when the demolition of the TAFE campus’ Bywaters Beaton Building was announced.
But the larger vision has been in the works for several years.