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R200m being spent in boost to university

Date Released: Mon, 15 April 2013 11:01 +0200

Plans for Rhodes upgrade, new buildings

RHODES University will spend R200-million on infrastructure in the next 30 months.

This was announced by the university's vice-chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat, in Grahamstown yesterday.

Spending will include upgrades, new buildings and a R3-million disability friendly audit.

"New infrastructure development at Rhodes will be guided by a long-term campus development plan so we remain a beautiful campus.

"It will also incorporate environmental considerations in our planning," Badat said.

He said the university would also shift towards being a more postgraduate and research-oriented institution in the near future.

"Our enrolment plan expresses our intention of becoming a more postgraduate university and overall we seek to enhance our contribution to knowledge production through research and scholarship."

He said the university was well positioned for such a shift.

This year 7 267 students registered with 5 023 being undergraduates.

He said unlike other universities in South Africa, Rhodes was home to a large number of staff with PhDs.

"This will be crucial for such a shift," he said.

The enrolment plan will form part of the university's institutional development plan (IDP).

The IDP is still a work in progress and will be the university's blueprint for the next 10 or 20 years, Badat said.

It was also announced that forensic science and bilingual education programmes would be introduced soon.

New Masters programmes have been started in creative writing, social policy and applied computer sciences.

A new postgraduate residence would replace Oakdene House, Badat said.

It will house 40 student rooms at a cost of R19-million.

"We will also continue to refurbish our residences and undertake a comprehensive audit of the state of all our buildings."

About R18-million will be spent on refurbishing student housing.

Badat said the university will push for a new indoor sports centre "or to considerably expand the current one".

The university is also investing R23-million in new equipment, mainly for pharmacy students.

"Our health system is crying out for more pharmacy students," he said.

Life sciences will get R101-million for a new building.

Other infrastructure projects include R22-million for health sciences and R31-million for African languages.

An R8-million unit for humanities will be built to expand on the university's approach to research.

"It will also seek to create an intellectual space for dedicated scholars."

A grant has been secured for a project based in the history department.

The project would address legacies of the apartheid wars.

Michael Kimberley

Source: Weekend Post newspaper