With the announcement of the University of Sydney’s $60m investment at Westmead as part of an expansion of the programs and initiatives and upgraded to student spaces, the first major partnership project is about to begin—the Westmead Education and Conference Centre (WECC) expansion and upgrade.
The WECC expansion and upgrade project is an exciting new development which represents the first major upgrade of shared education, training and research spaces for Westmead Hospital. The project will involve some refurbishments to the current WECC area and an expansion into the current level 1 old staff cafeteria. This is to be refurbished into contemporary, flexible shared learning spaces for staff and students. The new spaces will be IT enabled to support contemporary teaching and education practices.
We recently caught up with third year medical student Stephen Sanchez (left in the group photo above) to get his thoughts on what the new WECC will mean for him and his peers.
What impact do you think the refurbishment will have on the Westmead Precinct?
I think the area will have a much more social and integrated feel. It means we’ll have a dedicated space for collaborative working. It’s closeness to the front entrance of Westmead Hospital means that everyone is encouraged to stop by, sit down and perhaps catch up with a colleague, or meet someone new. It’s also a great opportunity to meet students from other disciplines as well as researchers, clinicians and other staff at Westmead.
What are you most looking forward to about the refurbishment?
I’m excited that I have a space that I can spend my spare time between classes in as opposed to thinking ‘what times do I have classes at Westmead today—okay I’ll come just for those and leave straight afterward.’ Having a group discussion with three to four of my peers in a dedicated space is something lots of people including myself like to do and often we find it difficult to locate a suitable space for this kind of work. Having these options easily accessible and available in the new WECC space will mean more open and spontaneous collaboration.
How do you think the refurbishment will impact the amount of time you spend in the WECC?
It will definitely increase the amount of time students and staff will linger in the area. People are much more likely to show up an hour before lectures and tutorials, stay during breaks or stay afterwards to run through group work. People will gravitate towards the space as somewhere to comfortably sit and engage with other students and Westmead staff.
How will the refurbishment change the way you currently learn at Westmead?
Having IT enabled spaces will greatly improve the ability to use electronic devices wirelessly in the WECC space and work on projects without needing to try and search for a spot where you can plug in a charger or access the internet. Accessing what you’re working on will be much quicker and maximising the amount of time you spend concentrating on your actual work will be a much simpler and swifter process.
Main photo caption - top left photo: medical students Kim Hanna, Stephen Sanchez and Mandy Wang in the current WECC.
The WECC expansion and upgrade project will commence in early 2017. Keep an eye out for more information about this exciting new partnership project between the Westmead Redevelopment, Western Sydney Local Health District and the University of Sydney in the new year!
The University of Sydney partnership
WECC refurbishment story (October 2016)