Game on for the Sunshine Coast

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Another key element of USC’s master plan for a world-class Health and Sports Precinct has become a reality. On 19 July, the Federal Education, Science and Training Minister Julie Bishop opened the new $10 million indoor sports stadium, and sporting groups from everywhere around the Coast are lining up to use it.

The air-conditioned 3,705 square metre stadium will be used for University and community sporting events—including basketball, netball, futsal, volleyball and badminton—and for University research and training.

USC Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Paul Thomas AM said the stadium, which accommodates three basketball courts, was an impressive sports venue, but was also unique for its eventual purpose as a research centre. “What singles this stadium out is that there will be analytical and research activities associated with the activities undertaken there, which will enhance the health and performance of young and old, elite or leisure participants,” he said. “Once the Health and Sport Centre adjoining the stadium is completed, there will be an impressive range of services provided by coaches, researchers, medical and allied health staff.”

USC’s Building Excellence Campaign is seeking to raise $3.5 million in private support to supplement government and University funds in the building of the iconic, multi-story Health and Sport Centre

Healthy ambitionProfessor John Lowe believes community partnerships can make ambitious visions a reality.

If you live on the Sunshine Coast, Professor John Lowe is a critical player in your wellbeing. Professor Lowe has recently taken the reins as Head of the School of Health and Sport Sciences. He joins USC from the University of Iowa in the United States, where he was Head of the Department of Community and Behavioural Health within the College of Public Health.

Building on his 28 years of international teaching and research, Professor Lowe will focus his work on community development and empowerment to make sustainable, long-term changes to promote health.

Professor Lowe has launched headfirst into USC’s Building Excellence Campaign to raise private funds for the new Health and Sport Centre. He is up for the task after playing a key role in highly successful fundraising for public health at the University of Iowa. “I’ve seen first-hand what the transformative impact of philanthropy can be. These financial partnerships work when the community supports the university, and the university supports the community.”

Lowe said that a groundswell of support for USC’s health and sport initiatives could make an ambitious vision a reality.“The School’s vision is for the prevention of early death and disability for a healthier region, state and nation. Community engagement and outreach will be key activities, and the new Health and Sport Centre will be at the epicentre of all that.”

Professor Rod Simpson, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Health and Education, said the importance of the Health and Sport Centre could not be underestimated, especially in light of the region’s shortage of health workers.A digital rendition of USC's new 5-level Health and Sports Precinct. Image developed by Core Architecture. In fact, last month Professor Simpson was asked by regional stakeholders, including Queensland Health, to head a regional task force addressing the Sunshine Coast’s shortage of skilled health providers.

“It is critical that, as the region’s only university, we are fully equipped and ready to train health workers to meet the growing demand,” Professor Simpson said. The new Health and Sport Centre will provide state-of-the-art research and training opportunities, and hands-on experience that will be desperately needed as our population grows.

“USC is extremely fortunate to have the talent and world-class experience of Professor Lowe leading the health and sport initiative at this critical time,” Professor Simpson said.

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