New Cromwell polytech accommodation complete

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TOM KITCHIN AND PAM JONES

A $3million development at the Otago Polytechnic’s Cromwell campus is half complete and the rest is due to begin.

The new $1.5million student accommodation wing at Central Campus has just been completed and students and staff were celebrating the milestone, Central Campus head of school Alex Huffadine said.

Work was now due to begin on the polytechnic’s $1.5million Trades Academy, as the polytechnic continued its gradual shift from its Cromwell premises to its Bannockburn Rd site, Mr Huffadine said.

“Our buildings [on the town campus] are not fit for purpose now. You need a modern environment for learning today. A redevelopment will keep maintenance costs low.”

The new accommodation block was built over spring and summer, construction beginning in October and finishing last month. There are five units, each housing five students.

Students moved in at the start of this academic year to fully self-contained units – beds, desks, cutlery and crockery were all provided, Mr Huffadine said.

“They can literally just arrive off the plane.”

As of this week, 18 students were living in the complex and Mr Huffadine expected it would be full in two weeks.

Central Campus operations manager Barbara Emmitt said Cromwell students had previously used local chalets and flats, and the polytechnic had sub-let homes for students.

“On site makes things a little simpler.”

Work is now set to begin on the other half of the Cromwell polytechnic’s $3million development, the construction of a new Trades Academy on the Bannockburn site.

Construction was due to begin in the next week or so and should be completed by July, Mr Huffadine said.

The new academy would recognise the growth in automotive and carpentry student numbers at the Cromwell campus, and was “great” for lifting the profile and opportunities of the trades, Mr Huffadine said.

“People are starting to take a lot more notice of the trades than they ever have.”

The polytechnic has just received a $175,000 grant from the Central Lakes Trust for tools and equipment for the academy.

Mr Huffadine said the polytechnic was “thrilled” with the grant, as it would mean students could use the most modern equipment available.

The Central Campus has 600 students enrolled, equating to 220 full-time equivalent students.

The Otago Polytechnic also opened its new Te Pa Tauira accommodation complex in Dunedin at the start of this year.