NWU engineers impress with their new complex
A brand new, state-of-the-art engineering complex was recently completed and inaugurated on the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus.
According to the NWU’s Chief Director of Physical Infrastructure and Planning, Louis van der Ryst, this R106-million project has been the largest ever undertaken on the Potchefstroom Campus.
Prof Jan de Kock, acting Dean of the faculty believes that approximately 25 000 engineering students need to graduate every year for South Africa to be economically competitive; however, at the moment that figure is around 2 000. “There’s a growing need for engineering studies and for that reason we had to build a new, bigger facility.”
The faculty plans to double the number of engineers who are trained at the NWU within the next number of years. This is as a result of the desperate shortage of engineers in South Africa and the realisation that training of engineers leads to job and wealth creation.
Brenda Swart from the national Department of Higher Education says it is one of her department’s priorities to have more graduated engineers in South Africa, as the shortage of engineers has a drastic effect on the creation of infrastructure. “South Africa has about one engineer for every 3 000 people – we have far too few engineers.”
The building is 18 000 m², has more than 70 offices (also the Dean’s office) and can accommodate 1 200 students. The six lecture rooms can be made larger or smaller as the need arises and are all accessible by forklift – to facilitate the delivery of equipment.
The building is environmentally friendly and lets in a lot of natural light. Rain is harvested and used to water the lawn and plants. Chemical and minerals engineering as well as electrical and electronic engineering will be accommodated there. Only mechanical engineering will remain in their current building.
The building has been designed to facilitate project-driven and problem-based teaching, and lecturers can apply the latest learning strategies because the supporting technologies are available in the building.
“We feel privileged to have been responsible for the establishment of one of the most modern engineering complexes in the country. This is clear evidence of the NWU’s innovation and unfailing commitment to top quality tertiary education, says Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Rector of the NWU Potchefstroom Campus.”
The brand new, ultramodern engineering faculty of the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus, in all its glory.