New era begins for NZ medical education
The opening of the new Medical and Health Sciences complex at the University of Auckland signals the end of a massive four-year redevelopment and marks the beginning of a new era in New Zealand’s medical education and research.
The new campus, to be officially opened by Prime Minister John Key on the afternoon of Tuesday 3 July, represents a radical transformation of space.
Designed to support and advance the sophisticated teaching and research requirements of 2012, it also offers the flexibility to respond to changing demands in the future, and creates an environment that is attractive to the highest calibre of teachers, students and researchers from New Zealand and overseas.
“I think this is as good as you’d find anywhere in the world,” says Professor John Fraser, Dean of Medical and Health Sciences. ”We’ve fused a high quality teaching environment with a truly great research environment. Universities often achieve one or the other but seldom both.”
The new central atrium provides a vibrant heart for the campus, creating a large and airy space from which all others radiate, linking new and existing buildings, and bringing the faculty’s teaching and research even closer together.
More than 7,000 square metres of new learning and teaching spaces have been created, including two large new lecture theatres, seating 250 and 300, and a Clinical Skills Centre offering specialised facilities such as a model pharmacy and dissection suite.
Teaching takes place on the ground floor and basement levels, allowing easy movement between classes for the students. The modernised research laboratories are based on the upper floors, with each floor focused on a different theme, such as neuroscience, infection and immunity, and pharmacy and pharmacology.
This creates a very different research environment from traditional laboratories, which are generally divided into small rooms along silo/departmental lines.
Each research floor is designed in the same way, with large open-plan laboratories linked on either side to research support and writing spaces, a plan which fosters communications between researchers and helps build a vital and innovative research culture as well as allowing shared access to the top-of–the-line equipment.
Professor John Fraser says: “Multi-disciplinary work will sit at the heart of future research and innovation.”
After officially opening the complex between 2pm and 3.30pm, the Prime Minister will be taken on a tour of the new laboratories and will inspect the state-of-the-art equipment.
Guests will then have the opportunity to be taken on a similar tour.