THE GOVERNMENT has decided to reallocate a portion of land at the state owned King George Sixth school in East Honiara for the initial establishment of the fourth University of the South Pacific (USP) in Solomon Islands.
This was announced last week by the Minister of Education Dr Derek Sikua during the university’s annual open day in Honiara.
He told the gathering the government has decided to delay the proposed construction of the campus in Doma, North West Guadalcanal because of delay in relations to the development of proposed Doma Provincial Township and a proposed cannery project.
“The decision to keep Doma as a long term development plan is due to various reasons and one of the many reasons is due to the delay of the proposed development of a Guadalcanal provincial township at Doma and delay in the proposed cannery project,” he said.
The Member of Parliament for North East Guadalcanal said, according to the initial plan the two projects should commence first before the development of the USP fourth campus in the country.
“Since the two major projects were delayed, the proposed fourth USP campus development has also been affected and has been further delayed.”
Dr Sikua said, Doma area is nothing but just a green field with no water supply, electricity and sewage system to support USP campus development.
Therefore, he added government decides to keep the USP Doma campus development as a long term project to be undertaken later.
Another major reason for the delay is due to financial difficulties due to change in allocated site.
The Education Minister further explained, at first when USP took a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the initial plan was for USP to develop the lower Panatina campus area now known as FOPA village.
“However, upon receiving the loan of SUS15 million which is equivalent $SBD104 million to develop that land, Solomon Islands National University (SINU) who owns that portion of land already has its own plans for that parcel of land.
“For that very reason Doma has been allocated for USP to build its campus there, but the problem now is that the allocated money is not enough to build a new USP campus at Doma plus lack of development in the area.
“This has forced the government of the day to look for a land within the city which already has existing access to electricity, water and other important services. Therefore the government look no further than King George IV, a land owned by the government.”
Dr Sikua explained that the allocated land at King George will allow USP to go ahead with its development programme to cater for the increasing number of USP students in the country.
With the Lawson Tama campus now running out of space, the and development of the allocated site at King George will be the solution to the overcrowding problem currently experienced by USP –SI Campus.
“Development of the new USP –SI Campus at King George should start early next year and should be completed and ready for use by 2018,” he said.
The USP Solomon Islands campus administration had also confirmed the change of plans towards the project.
BY BIRIAU WILSON SAENI