The University of the South Pacific (USP) reaffirmed its strong stand on the proposed establishment of its fourth main campus in Solomon Islands despite the delay on its construction work.
Tevita Banuve of Marketing and Development Office at Laucala Campus who is supervising the Project said, USP is fully committed to developing the new campus at Doma, west Guadalcanal.
He said construction should begin after USP and SIG identified consultants and specialists to undertake specific technical project preparatory works at the site including topographical survey, preliminary technical designs for the new campus site, financial and economic analysis, environment impact assessment and other safeguard assessments.
Mr Banuve added the delay of the Project is because of the need to undertake Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) survey and clearance of WWII battle remnants at the Doma site prior to proceeding with any of the above mentioned surveys and assessments and, definitely, before any civil works development.
“In the past nine months, USP have held discussions with experts and specialists in this area of work and had contacted an Australian firm last December to undertake preliminary UXO assessment and survey of the Doma site,” he said.
“The full cost of undertaking 100% UXO clearance of the entire 90 hectares site is fairly substantial and discussions are on-going with SIG to explore how the cost of full clearance of the site can be jointly met by USP and SIG,” he added.
John Usuramo, USP Solomon Islands Campus Director said, the UXO survey and extraction is a costly exercise which could cost millions of dollars that are not budgeted for under the current plan and so need extra funds to do the exercise.
He said the project is very important for both the University and the SIG, and despite the delay it will go ahead as planned but of course, with new timelines for implementation.
“The establishment of the new campus is very important considering more than 3000 students the SI Campus currently enrolled which no longer cater for the current facilities available, thus we need more spaces and facilities,” Mr Usuramo said.
Meanwhile, USPSA Laucala Campus President Whitlam Saeni urges Solomon Islands students studying at Laucala Campus to join hands together and pressurize the USP and SIG to speed up whatever processes that needed for the new campus construction to begin.
“We need to come together and start advocating the importance of the new campus establishment that somehow could assist and encourage the USP responsible Authority and SIG to quickly look at the project”, Saeni said.
The 75 years leasing of the site was granted to USP by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) in April 2013 but since then nothing significant has happened to the proposed Project.