Student influx shows need for Unanderra lifts

The new Nan Tien Institute and its expected 3000 students should provide another reason to install lifts at Unanderra railway station.

The station is the closest to the institute, located across the Princes Motorway from the temple.

The long-running push to get lifts installed gained a new lease of life last week when the Mercury reported on claims that Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian planned to announce the installation of lifts at a station on the border of her own electorate.

When asked to confirm or deny the claims, Mrs Berejiklian declined to respond.

Part of the criteria that the government uses to assess sites for station upgrades is whether educational facilities are nearby.

With work now under way on the campus, that places an educational facility barely a one-kilometre walk from the station.

"Construction of the Nan Tien Institute campus began in September 2013 and is scheduled for completion in September 2014," said the Venerable Miao You, senior nun at the temple.

"We have planned our inaugural opening in the new semester of March 2015."

The aim was to offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in humanities, economic and business studies, social sciences, religious studies and Asian studies.

At present, there are 100 students studying at the temple. But as the campus gets bigger, so will the student intake.

"When the campus is completed, we expect to offer undergraduate students in addition to postgraduate students and expect student enrolment to increase and double over the next few years," Ven Miao You said.

"This first building would accommodate 300 students at any one time.

"However, future developments were planned to grow up to 3000 students."

She expected students and visitors would use Unanderra station as it was the closest public-transport stop to the campus.

"Unanderra station is important here to service the people of Unanderra as well as visitors who come to the Nan Tien Temple as well as students who come to study at Nan Tien Institute," she said.

Mrs Berejiklian would not say whether the development of the institute increased the chances of lifts being installed at Unanderra.

"All stations across NSW, including Unanderra, are being investigated for potential improvements under the Transport Access Program," she said.

"But the government is catching up on years of under-investment.

"We know there is more work to do right across the network and we're getting on with the job, using evidence-based criteria.

"Transport for NSW will continue to monitor future developments and needs in the area," she said.

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