TAFE could close campus but ‘won’t leave town’
NORTH Coast TAFE director Elizabeth McGregor has claimed the institute will remain in Murwillumbah, even if the campus closes.
Ms McGregor said the building had been "under-utilised", as more programs were taught in the field and online.
"There's a lot more space there than we need," Ms McGregor said.
"There's an opportunity for the town to think about what other uses that site could be used for."
She said TAFE could retain part of the building, while other sections could be used for other purposes.
Alternatively, classroom-based subjects could be offered at other buildings in the town.
Ms McGregor said the campus's growth area was in civil construction, but the future of other faculties remained unclear.
"We do have a strong history, and with the Year 12 equivalent in particular... our students do really well out of Murwillumbah," she said.
She said online education was already a big part of TAFE's offerings.
"About 40% of our students never come near a campus at the moment," she said.
Regardless of the future of the campus, Ms McGregor reaffirmed TAFE would remain in Murwillumbah.
"We're not leaving town," she said.
Students expressed outrage since a document listing the campus among those earmarked for closure was leaked.
Former Murwillumbah TAFE student Kasey Cenda now runs her own hairdressing business, while Cassie Mellor's TAFE studies led to a university offer.
Murwillumbah resident Elly McGarn studied visual arts at the campus and hopes to return. She said it would be "a shame" to see the campus close its doors.
"I honestly believe that this proposed closure would harm the town on such a large scale," Ms McGarn said.
Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce president Toni Zuschke said is classes moved from the Murwillumbah to Kingscliff campus, she'd like to see a shuttle bus between the two.
Ms Zuschke said if it was closed, she'd like to see the Murwillumbah campus retained as a "training and job recruitment hub".
Ms McGregor said a campus closure was not on the cards until after 2016.