BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
THE University of South Pacific (USP) Solomon Islands Campus, east of Honiara, unveiled its brand-new campus, outfitted with modern technology meant to transform the educational experience for students, marking a significant step towards embracing the digital era.
The recently constructed campus, which lies east of Honiara, has been thoughtfully planned to meet the demands of the twenty-first century educational landscape. With its striking architecture and modern amenities, this facility is sure to become a local leader in innovation and creativity.
USP Solomon Islands Campus Director, Dr. Billy Fito’o; China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC) Deputy Project Manager, Davis Zhang; and Contract Engineer Daniel Tucker of Kramer Ausenco Solomon Islands accompanied the local journalists on their tour of the new campus.
During the tour, Daniel Tucker, the contractor engineer and leader of the project team, told local journalists that the new USP Solomon Islands campus is equipped with modern technology.
“Moreover, the campus features state-of-the-art classrooms and learning spaces, solar energy-efficient lighting, air-condition system, water tanks and a high-speed Wi-Fi system. According to Tucker, the new USP infrastructure will feature gender-friendly designs like the establishment of safe and secure Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) learning hubs, as well as complete disability access for students.
“The goal of the project is to ensure energy efficiency, sustainability, and as much self-sufficiency in electricity generation as possible for the campus through the consideration of climate change, disaster management, and sustainable development,” explained Tucker.
According to Tucker, the design’s primary goal was to use solar energy as the primary source of electricity, with support from Solomon Power and a diesel generator serving as the main backup.
“The power supply for the campus is generated by three different sources of electricity. The sun is the first main source. In addition to Solomon Power being directly connected to the campus, the second are the generators.
“During the day, the solar panel should essentially supply enough electricity to run the entire institution. Regretfully, solar energy is currently a practical option given the current circumstances. According to a current government regulation, you have to pay for the power you generate yourself.
“We are currently employing Solomon Power directly. As you may be aware, there are still questions regarding solar. We are currently waiting on the national government to resolve the regulations pertaining to solar use,” he explained.
Tucker noted that only the first phase of the project could be built because the institution’s design is much larger.
“At this time, three buildings have been built, but three more are anticipated to be built for the second phase at a later date. The new campus is full of innovative initiatives that promote making the most use of available space,” he informed the local journalists.
According to Tucker, the top floor is set aside for staff areas like lecture halls and tutorial rooms, while the lower level has a number of rooms primarily used for staff areas, administration offices, classes, lecture theaters, libraries, cafeterias, and staff areas.
He also emphasized that the campus buildings are made of wood from the Solomon Islands.
According to Tucker, the timber-based materials come from trees that were harvested in the Solomon Islands. The round logs were shipped to China, where they were sawn and treated, then cut to the necessary size and returned to the Solomon Islands, where they were installed in the roof.
Likewise, the first phase of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Honiara campus is complete and set to open in May, according to Dr. Billy Fito’o, the USP Solomon Islands campus director. He stated that there are reserved spaces for the second and third phases.
“The campus will offer medical programs, including student and staff accommodations, and be the main public health school in the region.
“The school, designed to accommodate over 4,000 students, has expanded its classroom space compared to the Lawson Tama campus, which was designed for 150 students,” he said.
Dr. Fito’o believes the campus will help reduce international student expenses.