Gladys Berejiklian opens NeW Space

PREMIER Gladys Berejiklian officially opened University of Newcastle’s $95-million NeW Space building on Hunter Street on Friday, with more than 80 invited guests crowding into an eighth-floor room looking over the city as a host of speakers sung the building’s praises.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian

On a two-stop visit to Newcastle which also included a trip to John Hunter Hospital to announce $25 million in funding for the hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit, the premier would not take questions from the media at the university stop,

But she praised the university for its efforts on NeW Space and said she recognised the importance of the institution to the region, speaking as someone who was the first in her family to go to university.

Premier opens university NeW Space building The musical overture to open the ceremony

University cancellor Paul Jeans

Aunty Sandra Griffin

NSW Education minister Rob Stokes

Vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen

Caroline McMillen, Rob Stokes, Scot MacDonald (parliamentar secretary for the Hunter), Paul Jeans, Gladys Berejiklian

Caroline McMillen, federal Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon, federal Hunter MP Pat Conroy, former federal Newcastle MP Sharon Grierson, state Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp and Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes

TweetFacebook University of Newcastle NeW Space openingScenes from the official ceremonyAfter a musical overture and a welcome to country from Aboriginal elder in residence Aunty Sandra Griffin, the university chancellor, Paul Jeans thanked all of those assembled for coming, and spoke of the efforts over more than a decade to get NeW Space off the ground.

The audience was reminded that NeW Space was begun under former vice-chancellor Nick Saunders, who was present with his wife, and former federal Newcastle MP Sharon Grierson, who was also present and who was thanked warmly for her role in attracting the $30 million in federal funding that was instrumental in getting the building off the ground.

The NSW government contributed $25 million and the university the remaining $40 million.

“To achieve excellence and equity takes partnership and vision,” Mr Jeans said.

“NeW Space is a powerful expression of this. It is a bold and confident symbol of the ‘new’ –the realisation of Newcastle and the Hunter region, imagined years ago by some of the people in this room today.”

Chancellor Paul Jeans, former VC Nick Saunders and VC Caroline McMillen

Vice-chancellor Caroline McMillen said NeW Space was “not only about a university, its conception, execution and delivery represents the outcome of the collaboration that has been forged between this university and its community from our foundation”.

“The University of Newcastle is deeply committed to creating opportunities for students from all backgrounds to engage their minds in learning environments where they can engage, create and explore,” said Professor McMillen.

“NeW Space has realised this opportunity.”

Although NeW Space has been widely praised, concerns remain about the impact that moving substantial amounts of the university’s presence to the city will have on the original “bush” campus at Callaghan.

But Professor McMillen said the move had support from “across the region, from civic, community and business leaders and alumni and university supporters.

“Thecoming together to create a city campus was not about a ‘move from Callaghan’ – a straightforward relocation – it was about ‘change’ – change in the way students could learn and where staff could collaborate across professional and discipline boundaries,” Professor McMillen said.

Ms Berejiklian said the university’s move into the CBD was part of the diversification of the Hunter economy away from the “single industry” approach of the mining boom.

She said 30,000 new jobs had been created in Newcastle, and at four times the national average rate.

“The building has made such a positive impact on the collective ambition the city shares to revitalise the Newcastle CBD,” Professor McMillen said. “The University has also been able to re-imagine and reinvent the traditional view of a university campus, by creating a space for the city as well as for our students that is genuinely vibrant and collaborative.

“For this opportunity, we are thankful as well as proud of what we have all delivered here together.”

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