Tauranga CBD campus a step closer with signing of Heads of Agreement

22 May 2015

A tertiary campus in the centre of Tauranga is a step closer following the approval of a Heads of Agreement document.

The University of Waikato-led campus will be shared with the three other parties in the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership: Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and Waiariki Institute of Technology.

The University of Waikato Council endorsed the Heads of Agreement this week between the University, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council, and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust. The parties have agreed on the conditions under which the regional contributions towards the project - land from Tauranga City Council; $15 million from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council; the $15 million from the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust - are to be provided.

The Tauranga CBD campus will be developed by the University of Waikato on behalf of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership to enhance the existing network of tertiary campuses in the region. The University-led facility will provide purpose-built space for leading academics and researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students, and for industry and community collaborations and commercialisation activities.

The new campus in Durham St is expected to open to students in 2020. It will focus on programmes that relate to areas of regional activity, including marine, ICT and logistics.  Further courses will be developed over time to support areas of economic and industry need in the Bay of Plenty.

The formal signing of the Heads of Agreement will take place in the coming weeks, but work will begin next week on finalising funding agreements, appointing design and project teams, and appointing representatives to the trust that will oversee the project.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says it's an exciting milestone for the Bay of Plenty community, the University and the tertiary partners. "It's important for the region that we can attract or retain young people who will make the Bay of Plenty even stronger. This campus, which will be one of the most significant developments in the region in many years, will do that for the region."

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder is excited at the prospects of more students staying, or being attracted to, the Bay of Plenty and the business focussed research and development opportunities.

"The agreement on the Tertiary Campus shows the strength of our regional partnerships, and what can be achieved through vision and collaboration. This campus will deliver improved educational and economic opportunities, and is a major part of our commitment to economic development through our Regional Infrastructure Fund."

TECT Chairperson Bill Holland says "TECT is extremely pleased that there has been agreement by all parties on the future direction of this project. We have always believed that the University campus is an important and exciting project for the city and although there is still plenty of work ahead, this is a significant milestone."

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby says having a world-class university campus will play a major role in supporting the growth of Tauranga by providing jobs and education that attract people and businesses from all over the world. "The campus will contribute to the city's culture and economy through research, reputation and building, and make our city more competitive. It simply can't be built fast enough."

It's expected that following the development of the campus, 8000 tertiary students will study in the Bay of Plenty over a 17-year period.

It's hoped that over its two stages of construction, the tertiary shared campus will provide more than $49 million in direct construction expenditures, $47 million in flow-on effects for suppliers and households, an estimated 427 construction jobs, and 272 tertiary operations jobs.