All set for the big opening

THANKS to the Klang Valley's excellent network of highways, especially the new Sistem Lingkaran-Lebuhraya Kajang (Silk) highway, the journey to the University of Nottingham campus in Semenyih, the first British university campus in Malaysia, was surprisingly quick and easy. 

The university’s vice-president, Prof Brian Atkin, said the area surrounding the campus was developing fast.  

“A short distance from our campus is a new housing area and a large plot of land in front has been earmarked for a new township to be developed by Boustead Holdings Bhd,” he told reporters during a recent media visit to Nottingham's sprawling 100-acre campus about 30km south of Kuala Lumpur.  

Before the briefing, guests were busy comparing travel times where it was concluded that it would take anywhere between half-an-hour and 40-minutes to drive from Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya or Subang to Semenyih. 

“Many students, even those from the Klang Valley, are actually opting to stay on campus or on their own in rented premises around Semenyih.  

Just like its campuses in the UK and China, the University of Nottingham's campus in Semenyih also has a big white building with a clock tower and lake in front of it.

“We are looking forward to students having a great campus life here,” said Prof Atkin whose hard work and diligent planning in getting the campus operational since its conception seven years ago, is finally paying off. 

Piling work on the campus began early last year and the first phase of the campus is now ready with students scheduled to start classes next month. 

Campus administrative support services director Paul Boardman said the contractors did a good job.  

Nestled amid the surrounding greenery, the RM100mil campus is impressive by any measure. About 60 of its 100 acres are part of its teaching facilities, including engineering laboratories, a four-storey library, sports facilities and accommodation for over 600 students. 

“Phase Two comprising a swimming pool, tennis courts, academic buildings and an Islamic centre will be completed by April next year,” said Prof Atkin. 

PROF ATKIN: 'Many students, even those from the Klang Valley, have opted to stay on campus.'

The main building is identical to the one at its main campus in Nottingham –a big white building with a clock tower and lake fronting it. 

“Our campus in China also has the same building concept,” he added. 

With a current enrolment of 1,400 students, the university has grown by leaps and bounds since enrolling its first batch of students into its Jalan Conlay campus in 2000. 

“We foresee having 2,100 next year and 2,700 by 2008 given our new campus and offer of more courses,” Prof Atkin added. 

The university now offers undergraduate courses in business, computer science and information technology, electrical and electronic engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronic engineering and soon, pharmacy, in addition to postgraduate courses. 

By 2007, it expects to introduce more courses ranging from education, communication studies and environmental management to biotechnology and occupational health leadership. 

“The Malaysian market is important to us as seen in our development plans,” he said. The university has shared a long and reputable history with Malaysia having graduated Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah, among a host of dignitaries who are alumni of the university. 

“We are proud of our heritage and are looking forward to build on it,” he added. 

The university is also looking at positioning itself regionally so as not to be in competition with its China campus. 

“We are looking at a 25% international student population here,” Prof Atkin said, adding that the university was now busy adding final touches to its campus before its big opening later this month.  

Parents anxious about sending their children to study in Semenyih can rest assured that the university is placing utmost importance on security. 

“Each hall will have a warden who will be responsible for students' welfare,” Prof Atkin added. 

There are several options for housing at the campus with rent starting from RM330 for a room for four and up to RM600 for a single room with an attached bathroom and air-conditioning. 

“Giving students a variety of options means they get to choose exactly what style of accommodation they want,” said Boardman. 

The single rooms come equipped with a single bed, study table, closet and voice and Internet points. 

As for meals, students can either cook in the dorm pantries or opt to eat in the campus cafeteria.  

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