The new Portimão Campus of the University of Algarve is really ready to move forward, admitted the dean of the institution, and even has a plot of land waiting. At the moment, funding remains to be guaranteed, but UAlg is already looking for it together with the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) and the municipality of Portimo.
However, warned the rector Paulo Águas, this “is not a project that will be implemented soon. We are talking about the medium/long term».
Following the announcement made by Isilda Gomes, during Startup Portimão's birthday party, which the Chamber of Portimão, which he presides over, had made available to UAlg «a considerable space in Barranco do Rodrigo, with 22 thousand square meters of built area, intended for the installation of a university campus and the construction of university residences», the dean confirmed to the Sul Informação who has «has been talking with the Portimão Chamber and the CCDR, about the possibility of making funds available, so that, in the future, we can have a teaching infrastructure in this new space».
«The University of Algarve, through the appropriations it receives from the State Budget (OE) and through its own revenues, does not have the means to develop infrastructure», contrary to what happened in the past, with the PIDDAC, he illustrated.
Today, «all the infrastructure that Higher Education institutions have been building is supported by public funds, but not from the State Budget».
This does not mean that this project cannot move forward.
“We are working on it. We believe that there is an opportunity here in the next community framework, but there is still nothing concrete», said Paulo Águas, a possibility that was also admitted by José Apolinário, president of CCDR do Algarve. The Portimão Chamber will also be willing to enter into the financing solution for the future campus.
For now, and while the talks continue, what the rectory emphasizes “is the City Council's willingness to cede the land, because finding funds to build and not having a place to do so would be complicated (laughs). At the moment, what we have to record is the availability of the municipality to give this place, which seems to us to be adequate”, added the rector of UAlg.
The land that the City Council made available was used for the construction of the Portimão Sports Complex, a project that never saw the light of day.
In the lands that will be ceded to UAlg, only public equipment can be installed, as approved by the CCDR.
On the day she announced the transfer of the land, Isilda Gomes considered that the future campus “will give a completely new impetus, not only to Portimão, but to the entire Barlavento region, as it will be especially geared towards new technologies and innovation”.
And the plans of the UAlg rectory seem to go in that direction.
«The current facilities we have in Portimão, provided by the Chamber, are old and have a set of limitations that do not allow us to expand our activity in the Western Algarve, which is something we intend to do».
The rector of UAlg even talks about «reorienting» the Portimão Campus, «in the sense of introducing a different training offer than we have now».
«Since the beginning, what we have offered in Portimão are courses at the Escola Superior de Hotelaria, Gestão e Turismo, which work in Faro and Portimão with very little differentiation. What is being considered – although this is always dependent on a decision by the General Council – is the creation of an organic unit in Portimão, with a director, a Scientific Council and its own bodies, which is something that currently does not exist», revealed Paulo Águas. .
This means that, if approval is confirmed by the General Council, “there will be a new polytechnic school, so that there we can develop an offer of Higher Technical Professional Specialization Courses (CTESP). But it will not be an exclusive school for CTESP, as is natural».
«It is too early to say what, exactly, the training offer we will offer on the future campus will be. We are talking about CTESP, which will have associated degrees. Of course, there may be cases of students taking the CTESP in Faro and who will be able to pursue a degree in Portimão and vice versa. There is this modality », he described.
«At this point, it is premature to say whether it will be degree A, B or C. Now, what we want is to have an offer that contributes to diversification for the region's economy, so the new offer will not be in the area of tourism», added the dean of UAlg.
This does not mean, even so, «that the Tourism course ends. This course has been successful, it has had students. If we want to increase the number of students, this does not mean eliminating what we have, but putting on new layers».
For now, UAlg «will maintain its presence and the same training offer in Portimão», but the head of the Algarve university admits «initiating a new training offer in Portimão, in the areas of CTESP and technology», even before the new campus is A reality.
«Right now, we have around 450 students in Portimão and we admit that, with the new infrastructure in place, there will quickly be a significant increase in the number of students. It is premature to be making predictions here, but I am convinced that, from the moment there is a new campus, in two or three years we will be able to reach XNUMX students, which is the average size of a school at UAlg», concluded Paulo waters.