FHS to open new R85m building
Work on a state-of-the-art R85 million health sciences facility at Walter Sisulu University in (WSU) Mthatha will eventually culminate in the official opening of its doors on Friday 9 December at the Mthatha Hospital Complex.
The new facility, funded by the Department of Higher Education’s Infrastructure and Efficiency Fund, and the Clinical Fund, is aimed at improving and increasing the University’s medical research and academic output.
The province’s first citizen, Premier Phumulo Masualle will be on hand to deliver the keynote address wherein he’s expected to speak on government’s numerous other initiatives together with WSU as part of the parties’ on-going mandate to improve healthcare in the province.
Other dignitaries set to grace the occasion include AbaThembu king Azenathi Dalindyebo, O.R Tambo District Municipality and King Sabata Dalindyebo executive mayors Nomakhosazana Meth and Nonkoliso Ngqongwa, MEC for Health Dr Phumza Dyantyi, as well as one of the medical school’s founding deans Prof Marina Xaba-Mokoena.
“This world-class campus will house and educate 2,000 medical students who can effectively respond to the region’s local conditions. We want to do more in responding to the needs of the communities we serve,” says WSU health sciences dean Dr Wezile Chitha.
Chitha says eventually all health science operations will be migrated to the new faculty housed at the Mthatha Hospital Complex.
He says the project is critical to consolidating and controlling operations, and creating cohesion for the faculty. This will lead to favourable conditions for maximum academic performance and research output.
“The University is one of world’s top eight medical faculties in problem-based community learning. With the faculty being strategically positioned and in close proximity to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and the University’s Health Resource Centre, it means operations such as administration, research, teaching and learning and training will be seamless. We will be able maintain the standard we’ve set,” adds Chitha.
WSU spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo says the project will be constructed in three phases.
The first phase, which has just been completed, includes bulk services infrastructure, earthworks, an administration building, a teaching facility for 600 students and a gatehouse.
The Administration Building is a 4,500m² double-storey structure that will house six clinical offices and 14 smaller clinical offices with two large boardrooms.
The teaching facility is a 1,350m² double storey building that will be the focal point when entering the campus. On the ground floor, the building will house 10 lecture halls; each will be able to accommodate 60 students. The first floor will comprise 20 smaller tutorial rooms.
“The building’s design is modern; true to its time, region and context with ‘significant’ elegance. Most importantly, the buildings are designed for a flourishing and ideal teaching and learning environment,” says Chitha.
Phase two of the project will see the construction of residences, an auditorium, a research lab, a library, computer labs, student common rooms and a campus cafeteria.
Construction on the last phase of the facility will include more residences and another auditorium, along with campus shops, teaching facilities and health sciences departments.
“The latest development is a clear indication of the strides being gained by the University to help deal with the burden of diseases that are currently confronting our people,” says Tukwayo.
“One of the major focuses of such efforts is to create infrastructure that allows for a conducive and appropriate living, working and teaching and learning environment for our staff and students.
“Through this project, we are honouring these deliverables so we can produce quality graduates equipped with the necessary tools to help improve and add value to the community,” ends Tukwayo.
VENUE: Mthatha Hospital Complex
DATE: Friday 9 December 2016