A new teaching and learning facility worth $120million will be constructed at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Panatina Campus commencing next year.
To seal the deal, the national university yesterday signed an agreement with China’s Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation (CCECC) to kick off construction work of this new facility comes 2017.
Witnessing the historic occasion were Rovaly Sike – Country Manager/Kramer Auscenco, Song Yang – Director CCECC South Pacific, Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana – Pro Chancelllor and Chair/SINU Council, Professor Basil Shelton Marasinghe – Acting Vice Chancellor (SINU), Donald Malasa – Pro Vice Chancellor (Corporate) (SINU), Dr. Franco Rodie – Permanent Secretary/Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and top officials.
SINU chairman Dr Culwick Togamana, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Maringe Kokota has earlier confirmed in Parliament last week that the building is worth $120 million.
Dr Togamana said this complex when completed will host a lecture theatre with a sitting capacity of 350 specialized teaching facilities, office space for all teaching staff and civil recreation lounge including a cafeteria.
He said China’s Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation has been awarded the contract through a tender and evaluation process.
Speaking at the signing ceremony yesterday acting SINU Vice Chancellor Professor Basil Shelton Marasinghe said the expensive building project is aimed at not as a business venture but aimed at enhancing quality and comfort of students in the country.
“This event is historical partly because it is the most expensive building project ever to be undertaken in Solomon Islands.
“This is also a project aimed at not as a business venture or to carry out administrative work but aimed at enhancing quality and comfort of students of this country,” he said.
“The thinking of the SINU Council when approving this project proposal was and I believe still is students in Solomon Islands deserve at least the same level of quality and comfort as their overseas counterparts when it comes to higher education.
“This building complex once it is completed will be able to fulfill those noble aspirations,” he added.
Prof Marasinghe acknowledged the contribution of the former Vice Chancellor Dr. Glynn Galo towards the project.
He also thanked the former SINU Council led by Sir Nathaniel Weana for approving the initial proposal and the current Council led by Dr. Culwick for continuing its support and guidance for the project.
Meanwhile, Dr Marasinghe conveyed their appreciation to the Management of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for responding to their call for tenders and also for offering a bid which was competitive and reasonable.
“We would not have been able to come thus far without the support of Kramer Auscenco, our consultant. I would also like to thank Country Manager of Kramer Auscenco Rovaly Sike and his hardworking staff for their commitment.”
He added its a massive building project and they need financial support from the Government and other organizations.
“The former Vice Chancellor Dr. Glynn Galo and I had a discussion with the Honourable Prime Minister few months ago who was quite sympathetic to our concern that we will not be able to complete this project without more support from the Government. We also hope to pursue support from local and foreign organizations,” he stated.
Another major SINU project which is currently underway is the fisheries study complex at the Marine School, Ranadi, East Honiara. Korea is supporting that project through funds.
By STEPHEN DIISANGO