STEM focus key to UB Northern campus development

STEM focus key to UB Northern campus development
The University of The Bahamas North campus. (PHOTO: UB)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The development of the University of The Bahamas’ (UB) Northern campus with a focus on STEM could become an ‘anchor’ for the city of Freeport, according to a top university official.

Dr Ian Strachan, VP of the University of The Bahama- North, noted that UB North needs a new campus, one which will have a particular focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He was addressing a virtual town hall discussion by the Digitization and Conceptual Economy Sub-Committee of the Economic Recovery Committee.

“We need a new campus and we have a future campus in mind with a STEM focus,” Strachan said.

“We’re considering a location in downtown Freeport. We are excited about the potential this could have for the local economy and the role the campus could play in the future of the economy. It could be an anchor for Freeport and turn Freeport into a tourist town.

He underscored the northern campus would have cultural attractions, the ability to attract not only local but foreign students and academics as well as opportunities to partner with Universities in Florida.

The plan calls for an investment of some $27 million into UB North, with Dr Strachan noting that it could transform Freeport into a ‘college town’.

He noted that prior to Hurricane Dorian UB North had some 500 students, which he said could grow to 900-1,000 students with certain key investments.

Strachan noted that moving forward there must be a commitment to reform, greater autonomy for UB-North and greater equity in terms of ensuring that the same amount of money spent on a student at the university’s Nassau campus is spent on a student at UB-North.

Strachan said that between construction, salaries to be created, expansion of residential housing, procurement of goods and services the investment in UB-North could be $27 million in up to 2024.

The development could also have a multiplier effect of over $60 million, and subsequently pump $6 million annually into the local economy.