Rural health school moves ahead

In a day of milestones for La Trobe University in Bendigo, today designs for the new $72.8million La Trobe Rural Health School will be unveiled and the Physiotherapy Clinical School at Bendigo Health will be opened.

La Trobe Rural Health SchoolLa Trobe’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Regional, Professor Hal Swerissen said today was a landmark day for the University and regional Victorians.

‘We are committed to making a significant difference to the health of northern Victorians and today, we demonstrate this commitment.’

‘La Trobe Rural Health School’s Clinical Teaching and Health Sciences Buildings are well on track with the development of crucial infrastructure, with tenders to be called in late 2010.’

The designs by Billiard Leece Partnership for the Clinical Teaching and Health Science Buildings set the benchmark in health education facilities.

The designs, featuring the latest in environmentally friendly materials, provide state of the art simulation amenities along with workspaces, research and laboratory facilities, and a range of teaching and learning spaces.

‘These designs reflect our pledge to provide a world class facility for current and prospective students, researchers and teaching staff ready to respond to the ever changing health sciences environment,’ said Professor Swerissen.

The Clinical Teaching and Health Science Buildings are due to open in early 2013. Over 550 construction jobs will be provided by the project over the next two years.

Professor Swerissen said the opening of the Physiotherapy Clinical School on the Anne Caudle Centre campus of Bendigo Health was a significant step forward.

‘There is a pent-up demand to study physiotherapy in regional Victoria. This year we have 40 students enrolled in first year studies at our regional campuses and through La Trobe Rural Health School, all four years of the double degree are able to be completed in regional Victoria.’
He said this bode well to meet demands for more physiotherapists and improved services.’

‘Through our alliance with Bendigo Health, our students will have access to working clinicians as part of their fieldwork studies.

‘This collaboration will change the way we prepare our students to be work ready which will make a significant difference to the health workforce shortages in rural and regional Victoria,’ said Professor Swerissen.

Once opened, La Trobe Rural Health School will be able to offer an extra 750 student places, training an additional 200 graduates each year to tackle critical healthcare worker shortages.

New professorial positions and an expansion in academic and administrative staff appointments to support excellence in learning, teaching and research are now being made.

The project budget totals $72.8m, of which $59.6m has been funded from the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund (EIF) through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), $2 million from the State Government and $11.2 million through La Trobe University.

BACKGROUNDLa Trobe Rural Health School

La Trobe Rural Health School - Main Points

About the Health Sciences Building
The $19.3 million Health Sciences Building will be located on the La Trobe University’s Bendigo Campus, with a frontage to Sharon Street. The new building will be the focus for the common first year of health science degrees including nursing and midwifery, dentistry and oral health, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, speech pathology, paramedics, social work and public health. It will also contain academic and administrative staff offices and expanded space for teaching and research.

About the Clinical Teaching Building
The $26.5 million Clinical Teaching Building will be co-located with the Monash University School of Rural Health and the Primary Health Care Clinic on the site of the Bendigo Health campus. The new building will be used by a number of related disciplines including: nursing and midwifery, dentistry and oral health, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, speech pathology, paramedics and social work. The new building is the focus for the final eighteen months of health science courses.

About Bendigo Student Accommodation
There will be a total of 200 student beds, of which 60 beds have been allocated to students at the La Trobe Rural Health School. The budget is $16 million and the beds will be available for the 2012 academic year.

The new residential accommodation buildings will replace the Osborne Street student accommodation. It will be located on an existing adjacent car park and tennis courts, with replacement car parking being built on the bottom oval.

About Other Regional Student Accommodation
There will be a total of 86 student beds located in Melton, Mildura, Swan Hill, Echuca, Shepparton and Wodonga. The budget is $6.8 million and the beds will be available for the 2012 academic year.

La Trobe Rural Health School – Briefing Paper for the Opening of the Physiotherapy Clinical School and Presentation of Designs for the Clinical Teaching Building at Bendigo Health and Health Sciences Building at the LTU Bendigo Campus.

The La Trobe Rural Health School (LRHS) was established in 2010 to deliver high quality health courses for students studying at the University’s regional campuses, addressing the current and future health workforce shortages in regional Victoria.  New programs such as paramedics, speech pathology, podiatry and occupational therapy are now available while all four years of physiotherapy can now be undertaken through the LRHS.  Enrolments in existing courses such as nursing, social work and public health have also occurred to meet workforce demands in local health and human services.  Dentistry and oral health courses were recently added to the range of courses on offer and are only available at the Bendigo campus of the University.

In establishing the LRHS, up to 750 additional student places will be offered, resulting in an extra 200 graduates each year, providing crucial healthcare cover across rural Victoria.

To provide infrastructure for course expansion, increased enrolments and curriculum redevelopment, a major construction program has commenced with the physiotherapy clinical school relocation being one of the first stages of this project.  The project budget totals $72.8m, of which $59.6m has been funded from the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund (EIF) through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), $2m from the State Government and $11.2m through La Trobe University.  

The Physiotherapy Clinical School facility was relocated in 2010 to enable construction to begin on the 10 chair dental clinic on the Anne Caudle Campus of Bendigo Health and also to accommodate the increased enrolments in physiotherapy students.  In 2011, physiotherapy student enrolments in third year will double to 40.  The additional dental clinic will also provide final year dental students with the necessary clinical experience to gain competencies required for graduation.

The Physiotherapy Clinical School building project was overseen by Bendigo Health buildings and infrastructure staff and local contractors providing expertise and labour.  Local contractors included:
•    Dave Mummery - Builder
•    Wild Plumbing
•    Chisholm & Jones Plastering
•    DeAraugo & Lea Electrical


•    Hall Painting and Decorating
•    Bendigo Windows
•    Reanne Curtains and Design
•    Kentish & Hall Interiors
•    Bendigo Bulk Carpets

The Consultant Team for the project included:

Project Managers – Aurecon
•    Cost Planners – Donald Cant Watts Corke
•    Architects - Billard Leece Partnership
•    Services Engineers – Waterman AHW

Having such a facility based at Bendigo Health enables students to have access to physiotherapists and work in a variety of practice areas in rehabilitation and acute care.  These clinicians are often engaged to provide lectures, conduct practical and skills sessions in their areas of expertise. 

This collaboration between Bendigo Health and La Trobe has been a strength of the physiotherapy program, highlighted in course feedback by students.   Many of the past physiotherapy graduates are now working in regional Victoria greatly reducing the recruitment problems experienced by health services.

The next phase of the project relates to the following buildings:  

  • The Clinical Teaching Building located on the Bendigo Health campus fronting Arnold Street
  • Health Sciences Building located on the LTU Flora Hill Bendigo Campus, fronting Sharon Street and connecting to the existing Health Sciences Building.
  • 200 student residential accommodation beds on the LTU Flora Hill Bendigo Campus.
  • 86 student residential accommodation beds located in Melton, Mildura, Swan Hill, Echuca, Shepparton and Wodonga.


Over 550 construction jobs in Bendigo will be needed for these LRHS Building projects.  The Clinical Teaching Building has a budget of $26.5 million while the Health Sciences Building has a budget of $19.26 million.  Both have been designed by Billard Leece Partnership Architects and are aiming to achieve a 5 star GreenStar rating consistent with La Trobe University’s commitment to sustainability.  Construction on these buildings will commence in early 2011 and will be ready for the 2013 academic year.  The design plans for both these buildings will be presented.

The 200 Bendigo student bed facility has a budget of $16 million, with construction due to commence in early 2011 and be ready for the 2012 academic year. The 86 student beds across northern Victoria are due to be ready for the 2012 academic year.

The Health Sciences Building will provide additional teaching facilities for students undertaking the early years of their course including the common first year.  Through an enquiry-based learning approach and the latest teaching technology, students will be able to commence their lifelong learning journey as health professionals in disciplines including nursing, public health, oral health, dentistry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, speech pathology, podiatry and paramedics.

The Clinical Teaching Building at Bendigo Health will provide state of the art facilities for students completing their final years of study.  Nursing, occupational therapy, speech pathology, podiatry, physiotherapy, social work and paramedic students will utilise the teaching and simulation areas to gain the necessary clinical skills and expertise for practice in a changing health and human service environment.  Students based in this building will also be undertaking clinical placements in local health organisations to enable a level of work readiness upon graduation.  The interdisciplinary team approach will continue to be a feature of the teaching and learning approaches established through the common first year earlier in the health discipline courses.
 
The addition of this building to the Bendigo Health campus together with the Monash University School of Rural Health and the Bendigo Primary Care Clinic provides students with authentic inter-professional learning opportunities.  LRHS will have senior academics, postgraduate students and leading researchers based at the Clinical Teaching Building. 

As part of its commitment to regional Victoria, LRHS will provide economic benefits to local communities through the provision of education programs, research and recruitment of an additional 60 academic and administrative staff.

Media enquiries

Zerin Knight, Ph (03) 5444 7375 F +613 5444 7526 M 0428 463 161 E z.knight@latrobe.edu.au

 

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