Federation University milestone as $45m building opened

WITH the pouring of  some dirt that had been kept since the first sod was turned more than three years ago, Federation University Australia yesterday officially unveiled its biggest  building.

The new $45 million science and engineering building at the Mt Helen campus was officially opened yesterday in what was the first official ceremony at the Mt Helen campus under the new banner of Federation University.

Visiting Ballarat, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Senator Scott Ryan, also opened the new $3 million sports and recreational centre at the university.

The three-storey science and engineering building covers a massive 8651 square metres of space.

The building has been in partial use for three months, with full use to begin once the university semester starts.

University vice-chancellor Professor David Battersby said the building was the most significant addition in the history of the university.

“It is a special day for two reasons,” he said.

“Firstly, because it is the first major university event under the new name of Federation University and, secondly, because it is the most major piece of infrastructure since its inception as a university.

“Not only is it an important statement about who we are and what we do, but it will also be of great benefit to the Ballarat community and beyond.”

Senator Ryan said lower university attendance rates in regional Victoria were a driving reason behind the development of the building.

“It’s a very important day for the university,” he said.

“More students from regional Victoria need to participate in university and this will help a lot in achieving that.

“The skills that will be learned will be invaluable.”

Member for Ballarat Catherine King said the city would become a hub for many disciplines that faced skills shortages throughout Australia.