Photo by Grant Higginson

A significant milestone was celebrated today at the construction site of UNSW’s new Biomedical Sciences Centre. The topping-out ceremony celebrated the highest point in the new building being reached.

Students, teachers, government and UNSW representatives came to the ceremony to witness the progress of the new four-storey Wagga Wagga Biomedical Sciences Centre. It will feature flexible tutorial rooms and function space, a lecture theatre, dry labs, research facilities, tutorial rooms, scenario rooms, academic staff offices and on-site parking.

Artist's impression of entry, UNSW Biomedical Sciences Centre BNMH Architects

UNSW Professor Tara Mackenzie, Associate Dean Rural Health said she was thrilled to see construction of the building progress to plan, and the new Centre was on track to open for students in 2025.

“I’m so excited that next year students will be able to study the full UNSW Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine degree in the Wagga Wagga Biomedical Sciences Centre!” Prof. Mackenzie said.

“The new Centre will support graduating students to take on positions as country GPs and regional medical specialists. If rural students are trained locally, they’re more likely to remain and practice in their local community.

“It will allow students to stay close to family and friends and remove the financial barrier of needing to relocate to Sydney to obtain a medical degree.

“UNSW is proud to support and further engage the Wagga Wagga community by ensuring we deliver highly trained medical professionals for the future of our regions,” she said.

Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said he was delighted to see the building taking shape.

“This is such an important investment into regional health,” Mr McCormack said.

“One of my primary goals as a Parliamentarian was to deliver a rural medical school for Wagga Wagga and it is so pleasing to see tangible results after years of planning.

“When I become Deputy Prime Minister, I took the opportunity to establish the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network, comprising schools in Bendigo, Mildura and Shepparton in Victoria and Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

“It is fantastic to see this vision becoming a reality which will help address GP and medical specialists in regional, rural and remote areas.”

The federal government has made a $21 million funding commitment to the Centre, which forms part of a $95.4 million investment in the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN).

The Wagga Wagga Biomedical Sciences Centre will be a state-of-the-art purpose-built facility, with opportunities for specialised postgraduate training working closely with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Artist's impression of the UNSW Biomedical Sciences Centre BNMH Architects

UNSW Medicine & Health's Rural Clinical School has campuses across New South Wales including Albury, Coffs Harbour, Griffith, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga. Since the program’s launch in 2000, the school has seen great success training the next generation of rural doctors.

The expansion of Wagga Wagga’s rural medical school forms part of the Federal Government’s MDMSN to help universities establish medical teaching in the Murray-Darling region over the next 10 years.