University of Waikato to boost contribution to Tauranga CBD campus project

5 August 2016

The University of Waikato has announced it plans to spend an extra $15 million to produce a Tauranga CBD campus of the highest possible standard.

The university is leading the campus development project on behalf of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership. The campus will provide targeted undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, along with applied research which will create solutions for regional issues. The campus, to be built on Durham St and to open by 2020, will be a highly flexible building; capable of adapting to changing needs and new teaching and learning methodologies.

At a meeting in July, the University of Waikato Council approved additional funding of $15 million, on top of the already-promised $10 million for the project. The campus has $30 million of community funding from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust, and will sit on land donated by Tauranga City Council.

The project is now at the point where the first major cost estimates have been done, taking into consideration what is possible on the site. This was the first opportunity to update the original 2011 estimates and has included benchmarking the Tauranga project against similar recent and current developments. The estimates show an 8600 sq m building with the quality needed for a modern tertiary environment will cost about $55 million rather than the $40 million predicted some years ago.

The university says $40 million would now secure a smaller building (about 5600 sq m) of university standard. This wouldn’t provide the capacity or facilities required for the region or the tertiary institutions, so the university has decided to invest more in the project.

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones says the university firmly believes a strong tertiary education sector is key to the Bay of Plenty’s growth and well-being. “We consider this extra funding is the right thing to do – by doing this, we can ensure we can deliver a campus that is vibrant, engaging and plays a vital role in the region’s future.”

Due to the extra University of Waikato investment, negotiations are underway to bring forward the ownership of stage one of the campus.

The Chair of the Tauranga Tertiary Campus Charitable Trust, Paul Tustin, says “The Trust is delighted with the university’s decision to increase its commitment to the campus project. It certainly gives us confidence that the campus is going to be truly world class. It’s exciting for the region to see the momentum the project has now - not just with the building design process, but also with the ground work getting underway for the academic programmes.”

Greenstone Group Ltd is the project management company, and design firm Jasmax is the architect for the project and they are working with an internal University of Waikato project team. In conjunction with Greenstone Group and Jasmax, the university has held a series of talks with iwi, community, business and tertiary partners associated with the project to gain feedback and contribution to the vision of the campus.

Academic Director – Tauranga Campus Development Ken Perszyk has started in his role and will work closely with Professor Jones to create academic programmes for the new Tauranga CBD campus aligned to areas of regional growth needs.

Professor Jones says concept designs for the new campus are likely to be made available to the public in September.

Keep up to date with the project via the webpage.