The Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust’s (TECT) decision to provide valuable funding to a planned tertiary campus in downtown Tauranga has been welcomed by the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership.
TECT announced on 24 July it had agreed to provide up to $15 million subject to conditions to the landmark project being planned by the Tertiary Education Partnership – comprising the University of Waikato, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and Waiariki Institute of Technology – for downtown Tauranga.
Education in the Bay of Plenty
The TECT decision provides one of the key funding components for the project, after the Tauranga City Council agreed to provide land for the campus and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council up to $15 million, on the proviso this was matched by TECT.
Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership Steering Group chair Bill Wasley says the TECT decision is great news for the project.
“TECT is a strong community-focused organisation and they have once again showed that commitment with today’s decision.”
“This project has always been driven and supported by the community and we are confident it will be hugely beneficial to the region, not just in terms of education but also to the economy.”
Project an "attractive investment opportunity"
A Benefit Cost Analysis Report on the project says the downtown campus plan is robust and an “attractive investment opportunity” with low risk and the potential to impact positively on many key areas of the Bay of Plenty economy.
The June report, prepared by Professor Frank Scrimgeour from the University of Waikato Management School, shows the campus would generate benefits of $188 million over the next 20 years and provide a rate of return of more than 30% on the initial investment.
It will impact positively on attracting researchers and teachers, postgraduate students, international students, and retaining undergraduate students in Tauranga, along with allowing the development of new programmes for delivery in Tauranga.
One of the biggest gains comes from having students remain within the Bay of Plenty, undertaking higher education that ultimately contributes back into their own whanau, hapū, iwi and communities.
More options for students and researchers
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the decision marks a significant milestone for the Partnership and the project.
“The University of Waikato has long had a presence in the Bay of Plenty and we consider the region an important part of our future. To have a University-led Partnership campus in downtown Tauranga will allow us to provide more options for students and enable our world-leading researchers to work with the region’s businesses to provide real-world benefits.”
Dr Alan Hampton, Chief Executive, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, is also delighted with the decision. “The announcement is a very important stage on the journey of collaboration, particularly between Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and University of Waikato, to provide tertiary provision and applied research in Tauranga that is attractive and relevant regionally, nationally and internationally.”
From here, the parties will work towards a Heads of Agreement, and will consider the next steps in the process.