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Victoria looks to revitalise its historic heart

MEDIA RELEASE


13 June 2006

Victoria looks to revitalise its historic heart

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital City University, is seeking public feedback on a plan to revitalise its historic heart, the Kelburn Campus.

The Campus Development Framework, released today for public consultation, while examining the future of all four Victoria Campuses in Wellington, pays particular attention to the Kelburn Campus.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, said the Kelburn Campus has a particular resonance for Wellingtonians and alumni.

“Despite the addition of the Pipitea, Te Aro and Karori campuses, more than half of Victoria’s students continue to study on what was once described as ‘six vertical acres.’ The Kelburn Campus is the site of the Hunter Building, which opened 100 years ago, Victoria’s first purpose-built building and an iconic landmark in the Capital and for the University’s sense of identity.

“Five years ago, we adopted a campus development plan that not only spearheaded the development of the Pipitea Campus, but also considerable work at Kelburn. This included the seismic strengthening of the Rankine Brown Building, home of the Library, refurbishment of the lower levels of the Easterfield Building as well as extending the Central Services Building to accommodate the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. With the completion of the refurbishment of the Recreation Centre and the extension to Weir House, the first phase of planning is complete.”

Professor Walsh said the University’s Facilities Management Team, having undertaken considerable internal consultation with staff and students, had created a Framework that outlined the next step in the University’s development.

“The project team, working from our Strategic Plan, has attempted to track the future services and facilities needed at Kelburn and their ideal location. A century of ad hoc development is to be addressed, along with improvements to foot and road traffic flows and parking within the Campus.

“The Framework not only highlights a pressing need for additional space to support our research and teaching programmes, particularly for postgraduate students, but also the space for social and recreational activities and for student accommodation.

“The document goes back to first principles to assess the University’s future needs. Our buildings and facilities are not an end in themselves, they are vital to support our teaching and research programmes. The Framework outlines potential construction projects, but only as general concepts. Any proposals would require detailed costings and designs and rigorous business cases, and if necessary, resource consent, before any work could began.”

Professor Walsh said while extensive discussions had occurred internally on the document, the University wanted to hear the community’s views.

“As the Capital’s second largest employer and its largest tertiary education provider, we impact on the lives of thousands of Wellingtonians. While Kelburn sits on a hill, we are very aware of our role and obligations to the wider community and the need to get community feedback on such an important document.”

A public meeting about the Framework will be held in the University’s Hunter Council Chamber, Level 2 of the Hunter Building, Kelburn Campus on Wednesday 19 July at 6pm.

The document can be viewed online at: www.vuw.ac.nz/home/about_victoria/consultation.html

ENDS

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