The Sunshine Coast experienced considerable population growth in the decade prior to 2012. It is expected that this trend will continue. In 2009, the Sunshine Coast population was approximately 323 000 and growing at approximately 3%, a rate well above the 2.1% average national growth rate for Local Government Areas.
Population estimates for the Sunshine Coast, based on 2006 Census data and assuming growth at the national average rate, forecast a 2011 population of approximately 339 000, rising to 381 000 by 2016 and over half a million by 2031 .
These changing demographic circumstances are likely to effect the growth of the University of the Sunshine Coast as the regional population are expected to continue to form the most important community seeking access to the institution and its educational services, programmes and facilities.
The total population projected for the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2015 is 15, 000 staff and students, assuming a growth rate of 15% and a staff to student ratio of one staff member to every eight students. This will require an equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) of 8, 000 by 2015.
With the completion of the Chancellor Park residential development to the south and east of the University campus, and the Mooloolah River National Park to the east, it is the development of the Sippy Downs Town Centre to the north and the Palm View residential development to the south of Chancellor Park that is expected to produce the greatest population increase in the local area over the next five years and beyond.
Another significant factor attracting people to the region will be the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, situated approximately five kilometres to the south-east at Kawana, and due to open in 2016.
While remaining cognizant of these external influences, the building expansion proposed under the 2012 Campus Master Plan will comfortably accommodate the institution’s projected population increase.
The campus growth strategy envisages an extension of the main axis of campus buildings towards the lake front, while simultaneously developing land on the northern campus boundary in order to prepare for and generate an appropriate relationship to the urban precinct envisaged for the future along Sippy Downs Drive.
Diagram 6.2.1 and 6.2.2 indicate approximate areas for the proposed development sites, and indicative gross floor areas based on nominal floor level and land utilization assumptions. These figures are intended to provide only an approximate guide for the relative capacity of each development site, and for the campus as a whole.