The state government has committed $20 million in Royalties for Regions funding to support the redevelopment of student accommodation at Agricola College in Kalgoorlie.
The $35 million redevelopment includes demolishing the existing accommodation for 127 students and replacing it with 10 contemporary units to cater for 180 students from both the Western Australian School of Mines and the Vocational Training and Education Centre.
Curtin University has also contributed $5 million to support the project and plans to source the remaining funds from industry partners.
Training and Workforce Development minister Murray Cowper said the existing Agricola College was in poor condition and the redevelopment would help boost training in the Goldfields region.
“A shortage of affordable student housing in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was becoming a potential disincentive, which is why this development is so important for Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the broader Goldfields region,” Mr Cowper said.
“A well-trained workforce is essential to the state’s economic future and this project will be vital in addressing Western Australia’s demand for skilled workers.”
The funds were provided as part of the Royalties for Regions Skills Training Initiative, which is rolling out a series of infrastructure projects meant to address the state’s skills shortage.
Building works at the college will commence in 2013 and should be complete in 2016 with current students to be housed in temporary accommodation during construction.
Regional development minister Brendon Grylls said he was pleased Royalties for Regions funding improved access to higher education in regional areas.
“Offering first class, affordable student accommodation in our regional centres is essential in the attraction and retention of students from not only the goldfields but from around the state, Australia and overseas,” Mr Grylls said.
The government also plans to invest $3 million to refurbish parts of the Mining Hall of Fame to be used as learning spaces by the newly formed Goldfields Institute of Technology.