PLANS for the new $19 million Wagga Medical School have been revealed after the development application was lodged with Wagga City Council.
The designs for the multimillion-dollar expansion provide for a three-storey biomedical centre to be constructed at Wagga Base Hospital's main entrance on Edward Street, where 52 parking spaces currently reside.
It is expected to be open by 2022 to enable students to study a full six-year medical degree in Wagga. Currently, students can only study their third to sixth year.
University of NSW Medicine's acting dean of rural health Tony O'Sullivan said the goal will be to build a new teaching centre near the Base Hospital with the aim to address a clinicians shortage in regional areas.
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"If rural students can be trained locally there is a greater likelihood they will remain and practice in their local communities," he said.
"The new biomedical centre will also allow students to stay close to family and friends and remove the financial barrier of needing to relocate to Sydney to obtain a medical degree."
The inaugural group of first-year students will start their degree next year from Harvey House where year three to six students currently study.
The cohort will initially comprise of 10 students, which will increase in size over the next five years.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District's chief executive Jill Ludford said they were excited to see a purpose-built school in the district that is tailored to meet the needs of regional, remote and rural medicine.
"This facility will play an important role in the future education, training and retention of the medical workforce in our rural community," she said.
Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the project progressing to the development application stage was a significant milestone.
Mr McCormack said he brought together the group of doctors, community leaders and specialists who have worked hard to ensure Wagga and the wider region "gets the healthcare it needs, wants, expects and deserves".
It is anticipated that construction will start in 2021 subject to receiving consent by the council this year.