Hawksbill Hall Residential Facility at UB-North Officially Opened
9th May, 2018
The official opening of Hawksbill Hall at University of The Bahamas-North (UB-North) in Grand Bahama on Monday, 7th May represented more than another step towards becoming a vibrant residential campus. It demonstrated how both the public and private sectors are collaborating to positively impact tertiary education and national development.
The residential facility was the result of a $3 million gift from the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GPBA), which also donated the 50 acres of land in East Grand Bahama on which UB-North is currently situated.
Vice President of UB-North Dr. Ian G. Strachan explained that the residential facility makes the campus a viable option for Family Island students seeking tertiary education and will deepen the living and learning experiences afforded there.
“This residence hall opens the door for UB-North to host international students who can enjoy study abroad in Grand Bahama in areas focusing on climate change, sustainable development, marine science, as well as Bahamian and diaspora studies,” he said. “The introduction of international students in sizeable numbers will further deepen and enrich the learning experience for Bahamians and help make UB the first choice of Bahamian high school graduates.
Named after the 1955 agreement designed to pave the way for the economic stimulus of the island of Grand Bahama, Hawksbill Hall can house approximately 80 students in accommodations that include a cafeteria, computer laboratory, fitness centre and laundry facilities. It also has special needs access.
Vice Chair of the GBPA Ms. Sarah St. George said she hopes that great friendships and great things emerge from this humble building in years to come.
“My father Edward St. George and Sir Jack Hayward both dreamed of this campus and donated 50 acres to build it. By 2015, it was clear these dorms were a must, so the late Sir Jack and I joined the COB Chairman, and the Minister of Education, to announce that the Government and the GBPA would both commit the funding to make it happen. The GBPA contributed $3 million and the dorms began construction. And then last year, by happy confluence, the COB transitioned to the University of The Bahamas or UB,” she said.
“Now, UB students from West End and East End can eliminate their long commute by living-in. And ‘Northern Bahamas Campus’ means this facility isn’t just for Grand Bahama, it’s for all the islands of the Northern Bahamas and even Nassau too. So we can look forward to a new vibrancy.”
UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith noted that over the past year, the UB-North campus has been growing and developing in many positive ways.
“This hall will have a transformative effect on the campus, and it will be a living and learning environment for our students. It will begin to change the campus from a solely commuter campus to a residential campus….” he noted.
“The campus’ living and learning environment will help to significantly improve student life on campus. We will eventually see the development of a thriving intramural sports programme, and the establishment of several student organizations. We want 24-hour activity here – the much needed energy and vibrancy that is found on all university campuses, adding to the depth of our students’ experiences and enhancing the area as it develops.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. K. Peter Turnquest asserted that UB-North has an important role in developing Grand Bahama and its competitive advantage by producing skilled individuals to help drive the economy. He also explained how Hawksbill Hall will be used to help fulfil a promise made by the current government administration to provide free tertiary education.
“The government, a year ago, made some promises with respect to education – particularly tertiary education – we would offer free tuition to every student throughout the country and Family Island students, in particular, so that they are not limited in their circumstance or where they come from. This facility will help us to fulfil that promise,” said Minister Turnquest.
“In addition to this, in Nassau the government recently approved a private-public partnership that will see a significant number of dormitories being constructed at the campus in Nassau. Together, we expect that we will be able to offer tertiary education to all of our deserving students, regardless of their income, background and ability to pay, and the only thing we ask of them, is their willingness to work hard,” he added.
The vision for UB-North is to grow to a 200-acre campus. Currently, students can complete 50% to 75% of many, if not most, academic programmes offered by UB, with specific emphasis on the sciences, engineering, technology and entrepreneurship.
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
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Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4366