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Civic Centre to be another Unitec campus

7 July 2004

Civic Centre to be another Unitec campus in city’s knowledge revolution

Unitec New Zealand has strengthened its long-term commitment to West Auckland tertiary education by purchasing the Waitakere City Council’s Civic Centre and some of the land on Waipareira Ave.

The tertiary institution already has a strong presence in the city, with plans for more teaching space to be added to its existing Ratanui St campus and the construction of the Waitakere Central Library alongside in partnership with the Council.

Unitec CEO Dr John Webster and Mayor Bob Harvey have acknowledged the decision as further commitment to meeting the city’s future education needs.

Unitec expects to move into the Waipareira Ave complex in 2007. Dr Webster said that date would meet the needs of both the Council and Unitec, and help to ensure that the institution could continue to meet the projected needs of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing cities.

“Even with the planned development of our facilities in the Henderson town centre, we will need extra space in order to best serve the local community into the future. The Waipareira Ave facilities, with the existing Civic Centre and just under three hectares of land, will give us the capacity to grow our student load in Waitakere to around 4,500 EFTS.”

He said that the range of programmes offered by Unitec in Waitakere would expand rapidly from 2006 onwards. For example, within the next few years, he expected to have the Unitec degree programmes in nursing and social practice based in West Auckland.

“Our new building is easily adaptable for teaching and research. These facilities will give us considerable flexibility in delivering academic programmes designed or adapted to meet regional needs.”

Dr Webster said the $7.1 million Waipareira Ave deal further cemented the relationship between Unitec and the Waitakere City Council. “Already a third of our students come from Waitakere City and it is vital that we continue to work in partnership with the City Council to ensure we are meeting the needs of their constituents.”

Mayor Harvey welcomed Unitec’s long range planning strategy and said it would offer the city’s young people even greater opportunities to ride the knowledge wave into the jobs of the future. “We are going from a city that had no significant tertiary opportunities several years ago, to one that will be known as a knowledge city – hopefully in the same positive way that Dunedin and Palmerston North are known as cities which have grown round their tertiary colleges.”

The Mayor said that, once again, the people of Waitakere had gained the best possible result for their money. “We haven’t just sold the building. The sale has been maximised. We’ve found a buyer who is offering economic, social and environmental benefits. Residents should be very pleased because the benefits far exceed just money – they include their children’s and grandchildren’s futures.”

The sale of the remainder of the Waitakere City Council land in Waipareira Ave is expected to be announced by the end of the month in a commercial deal that Council officials are describing as an exciting business investment.

ENDS

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