Posted on August 29, 2011
The Minister for Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, shared this view after a tour of this environmentally-friendly facility, built to help curb the shortage of engineering skills in South Africa. The Minister delivered a keynote address at the opening of the building on Thursday 25 August 2011.
“It gives me great pleasure to be here celebrating the opening of this brand-new Engineering Building with you this evening. It will surely contribute significantly to the role that UP can play in helping the higher education system produce young engineering graduates for the region and the country,” Dr Nzimande said.
He also expressed his delight in the fact that new life is being breathed into South African universities through infrastructure development initiatives. “Such projects are happening across our public institutions spurred on by investments from government, particularly to increase the capacity of our institutions to produce more graduates in scarce skills areas, such as engineering.”
“This type of development is an important part of the work we must do to create a post-school education and training system that is responsive to the divergent needs of the country.”
Apart from the initial allocation by government for the project, the University’s Council allowed this to be supplemented by UP’s own funds for capital projects. Industry also contributed to the development, bringing the total budget for the expansion to more than R400 million.
Dr Nzimande also lauded UP for its strong ties with industry and the successful working relationship the new facilities are evidence of. “I am pleased to hear that the University (of Pretoria) has strong ties with industry, which I believe is essential for ensuring quality graduates. And this is borne out by the high esteem in which its graduates are held, both nationally and internationally.”
The facilities that were inaugurated include six lecture halls for some 1 800 students, tutorial facilities as well as teaching and research laboratories to better serve the growing number of students. Emphasis was placed on creating spaces for tutorial rooms, group work and research groups. The building project also encompassed a parkade, providing approximately 1 000 parking bays for UP staff and students.
In line with the current international trend to make buildings as environmentally friendly as possible, the University challenged the architects to come up with a design in line with this practice. This was achieved through the innovative use of design, construction and operational practises that will significantly reduce or eliminate the University’s impact on the environment.
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