Sod turning ceremony marks new chapter in USC's history

Published 4:00pm 4 April 2022

Sod turning ceremony marks new chapter in USC's history
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

The first sod of dirt has been officially turned at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) Moreton Bay campus at Petrie, marking the start of the university’s Stage 2 works.

Moreton Bay Councillor Jodie Shipway, USC Chancellor Sir Angus Houston, Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton and USC Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett did the honours on April 2, with a special ceremony to mark the occasion.

As part of the Stage 2 works, three new buildings will be constructed opposite the campus’s foundation building, providing greater room for teaching, research, sporting activity and socialising.

They are scheduled to open in early 2023.

USC Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett said she was thrilled to see this new chapter in the university’s history begin.

"It’s thrilling to be at this milestone event as it has come so quickly," Professor Bartlett said

“In the last two years we have been operating here in Petrie, we have met all our goals in terms of student numbers, engaging with the Moreton Bay Regional Council, and with interested industries and community players.

“This expansion will enable us to continue to grow our programs. We currently offer 60 programs, and we’ve got new programs on track for the following years.”

Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton said the new buildings and courses would provide more opportunities for future generations.

“The wonderful thing about USC here in Petrie is it’s providing an opportunity for graduates from local high schools to come here for university, whereas we know in previous generations they hadn’t,” Mr Dutton said.

“It was too far for them to travel, and too expensive to attend a university on the Sunshine Coast or at UQ. But it wasn't just the travel costs, but also the accommodation costs too.

“USC opens up a new world for students, and that’s a great benefit for our local community."

Deputy Mayor and Division 4 Councillor Jodie Shipway said Council is committed to bringing higher level education to the region.

“Council is passionate about looking after our local community, and this expansion is just one way we can ensure our knowledge stays in our area,” she said.

“We have a strategy of Bigger, Bolder and Brighter, and this expansion feeds straight into this strategy.

“Our region is growing and one of our key focuses is to ensure people live, work and play in the region, and certainly having the university on our doorstop will help that.”

Scholarships awarded to new students 

The sod turning event was one of three events held at the university on the weekend, which was open for the community to come and enjoy.

To help mark this historic event in the university's history, the sod turning ceremony also included the  presentation of nine Moreton Bay Regional Council scholarships to Year 12 school-leavers from across the region who have just started studying at USC in degrees including Design, Education, Nursing Science and Psychology.

These equity scholarships, which are now available to students at both USC Moreton Bay and USC Caboolture, are each valued at $8,000 per year of study.

Celebrating the graduates 

The day also featured USC's first graduation ceremony for the Moreton Bay region, where more than 100 students proudly walked across the stage in front of their family and friends in their caps and gowns.

Graduates included those who have completed degrees at USC’s Moreton Bay, Caboolture and South Bank campuses.

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