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Waiariki development underway

Waiariki development underway

Site Development Finally Underway For Waiariki's Centre Of Excellence

The Centre of Excellence in Wood Processing Education and Training at the Waiariki Institute of Technology, in Rotorua, is a step closer now that site development is finally underway.

Around 60 Douglas Fir trees were felled recently at Waiariki's Waipa site to make way for the eagerly-awaited centre. Some of the trees were up to 40 years old and 25 metres high, and are expected to yield about 300 tonnes of wood.

The trees will be milled, dried and stored over the coming weeks, and then recycled to build two classrooms and a computer suite. These will house the institute's National Centre Diploma in Wood Processing (Levels 5 and 6) which is on target to accept its first intake of students early next year.

The timber will also be used to construct two classrooms to accommodate the institute's Diploma in Forest Management and a large workshop for the Practical Forestry courses.

Felling of the trees also served as a training exercise for students from Waiariki's School of Forestry and Wood Processing. The operation was supervised by a practical logging co-ordinator and tutors who ensured the trees did not fall onto existing buildings.

Waiariki's academic director, Gary Dender, sees the development of the Centre of Excellence as the first step toward the School of Forestry and Wood Processing being recognised as the premier forest industry-training provider in New Zealand.

"Qualifications offered by the school will be leading edge and will be respected nationally and internationally," says Dender.

"The facilities here will be of international standard and the staff the best in their fields. I have no doubt that the school's graduates will be sought after by industry here and offshore."

In time, the Waipa site will also have a Trades Training Centre and a large industrial workshop for wood remanufacturing. A student amenities building and a conference centre are also possibilities, along with refits of current buildings. Rooflines will match the Waiariki Sawmill profile so that the site is eye-pleasing.

In the weeks ahead, the Waipa site will be contoured and landscaped by Waiariki's facilities team. Displaced shrubs will be pruned and replanted once the site has been reformed.

A new circular road will enter the site from the south to provide access and parking. It will assist the removal of buildings erected under the school's construction-related trades training programme.

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