IF TAMWORTH is to one day get a university, it has to be near the centre of town – not “plonked somewhere in a paddock”, a local education advocate says.
Mitch Hanlon has been pushing the case for a full-blown university campus, which he wants to see near the CBD.
Mr Hanlon said most regional universities, such as those in Armidale, Wagga Wagga and Bathurst, had been built on vacant blocks of land on the outskirts of a city, which grew towards it over time.
“That’s the old model, and that’s not appropriate anymore,” he said.
“It needs to be integrated with the community, not sitting in a paddock somewhere. It should not be a standalone facility remote from the centre of the city.
The Peel Street velodrome, which the council is trying to sell, has been suggested as a prime location.
“It would serve as a significant urban renewal project, similar to what Newcastle has done with its new law school,” Mr Hanlon said.
“You have more interaction between students, businesses and everyday people.”
Some have labelled the project a waste of time, with the University of New England (UNE) campus “just up the road” at Armidale.
However, Mr Hanlon said the Tamworth campus would be geared towards people who didn’t have the financial support to leave the city to study.
“It’s still a significant cost to attend Armidale, either in fuel, travel time or accommodation,” he said.
“I’ve had employees studying at UNE who stopped because it was too expensive or not accessible.
“I’d also like to see the campus integrated with TAFE and the community college system, so people have a pathway to a degree.”