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Victoria University secures Railway Station

MEDIA RELEASE 7 October 2003

All Aboard – Victoria University secures Railway Station

Wellington's historic Railway Station is to become part of Victoria's growing Pipitea campus with an agreement signed today.

The Government is to buy the station from Tranz Rail. The building will continue to be used for rail purposes while space will be leased to Victoria University.

While agreement in principle was reached in early August, the University, Tranz Rail Ltd and the Crown have now signed a final agreement that secures Victoria a long-term lease over 6000 square metres of space, about one-third of the building's floor area. The area will be used for library space, student learning rooms and the Faculty of Commerce & Administration student administration office.

The Railway Station will form the third building in Victoria's Pipitea campus centred on Lambton Quay, along with Rutherford House and the Old Government Buildings site.

The campus will be home to the Victoria Management School and the Schools of Government, Law, Economics & Finance, Marketing & International Business and Accounting & Commercial Law that deliver programmes offered by the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Commerce & Administration, and the Centre for Continuing Education & Executive Development.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the expansion was justified by the strong growth in enrolments, particularly for commerce and law programmes.

"Victoria has seen unprecedented demand for our programmes with student numbers rising 10 percent on the same time last year and by 30 percent in just three years. Compared with the same time last year, we've seen an increase of almost 15 percent in enrolments for law and commerce programmes. By the start of 2004, we estimate there will be in excess of 4,000 students based at the campus.

"The location of the Wellington Railway Station, linked to the rest of the Pipitea campus by a modern underpass, is a perfect fit with the investment that Victoria is making in the area, including the construction of two new lecture theatres on the forecourt to the south of Rutherford House."

The University is also working with the Wellington City Council to link Rutherford House and the Old Government Buildings site with additional landscaping and reduced road traffic in Bunny St.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast welcomed news that the University was to expand into the Railway Station. The project met a Council goal to foster redevelopment at the northern end of the central business district, she said.

"Not only is this a fantastic reuse by a public institution of one of Wellington's pre-eminent heritage buildings but the refurbishment will reinforce the Capital's status as New Zealand's creative centre."

By the end of the year, Victoria University expects to have enrolled more than 18,500 students compared with 16,624 for the whole of 2002 and 13,999 in the year 2000.

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