Campus change begins

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Otago Polytechnic Central Campus will begin construction of what is proposed to be a new campus at its Bannockburn Rd site at the end of January.

Central Campus academic manager Alex Huffadine said plans had yet to be finalised but he anticipated that the campus on the corner of Ray and Erris Sts in Cromwell could be fully redeveloped as student accommodation, and a new campus based at Bannockburn Rd.

“We can’t ignore accommodation, like everybody else can’t ignore it. If we don’t provide student accommodation, we can’t get students. It’s that simple,” Mr Huffadine said.

The polytech had been renting and subletting to students around town, but had decided to focus on building and managing accommodation on one site.

Construction had begun on student accommodation which consisted of five houses, each able to house five students, with two bathrooms and communal kitchen, dining and lounge areas.

“As soon as we’ve filled those houses we will push that button and develop more,” he said.

“The demand is definitely there.”

“My take is I think as we move through the next three years this site could well be our student accommodation hub, and we’ll redevelop the new campus on our Bannockburn Rd site.”

New courses being introduced this year included full time carpentry, automotive and a mid-year craft brewing course.

These courses were the impetus for construction at Bannockburn Rd and a trades building to house these courses would be be the first on the site.

“We are starting that redevelopment of Bannockburn Rd end of this month,” Mr Huffadine said.

“This is a bit of a change year for us, really. We’ve got a construction programme in place, we’ve got new programmes coming on board.”

“So stage one accommodation, stage two the trade building , stage three will be the the full shift to Bannockburn Rd,” he said.

“Its the biggest change we’ve had in the whole time this campus [has been here],” he said.