Go-ahead for $33m uni science facility

A $33 MILLION sciences laboratory facility will be built at the University of Wollongong as part of a multimillion-dollar spend on infrastructure over the next five years.

The University Council approved the release of $220 million for capital expenditure projects last Friday.

The sciences teaching facility and the $44 million Early Start project announced last year are two of the major projects to be funded, while money will also be spent on refurbishing existing buildings and on information technology infrastructure.

UOW Dean of Science Will Price said the science building would consist of chemistry, biological sciences and earth and environmental teaching laboratories.

"Most of our existing lab facilities are 20-years plus - even those that have been refurbished are not state-of-the-art," Professor Price said.

"This new lab building is over 6000 square metres and is being built to cope with the current growth in student numbers and will significantly improve the student experience.

"It's not just an undergraduate teaching building, there will also be new research labs in there too."

UOW vice-principal administration Chris Grange said the facility will cater for students from a number of faculties.

"Science is a core discipline and the basis for a number of priority areas within health, engineering and informatics too," he said.

"So when we looked across the various areas of need ... our highest priority was to improve the quality of the science labs."

Construction is expected to start on the facility in September and be completed by December 2014.

Mr Grange said he was also excited about the Early Start inter-disciplinary project which will be based at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The facility, due to open in early 2015, will include specialist teaching and research spaces as well as a children's discovery centre.

"This is a world-first facility that will incorporate teaching and research in partnership with industry in an early childhood space," he said.

"It will bring children and parents into the university and also engage our students in applied education and research."

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