The Bay of Plenty's newest tertiary education building has opened its doors, ready for students to start learning there next week.

A large group from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, local councils, and the community watched as Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor John Cronin cut a ribbon to open the Windermere campus's $8.5m building yesterday.

The building, called Te Ara o Mauao, will be the main base for 230 creative arts students this year. It features a sound recording studio and purpose-built art, graphic, photography and creative art spaces on the ground level.

Mr Cronin said the building had been a long time coming.

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"The education of today will put in place plans, motions and dreams which will change our city," he said. "Which in turn will change our region forever."

Mr Cronin said the new facility was preparation for the future and a major step forward in the development of Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty.

Group leader for Media, Art and Design Mary Stewart said 130 of the students who would use the building would be enrolled in Bachelor of Creative Industries degrees.

Last year the Institute had 42 Bachelor of Creative Industries graduates, with most entering the workforce this year.

"To be honest, I would have employed any one of those students," she said. "The degree is so hands-on and practical, they go into the workforce with strong business networks."

Head of the School of Design and Humanities Gill Brocas and Polytechnic corporate service director Anthony Robertson in the new recoding studio. Photo/Ruth Keber
Head of the School of Design and Humanities Gill Brocas and Polytechnic corporate service director Anthony Robertson in the new recoding studio. Photo/Ruth Keber

The facts:

The new $8.5 million addition to the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology's Windermere campus has opened.

The 3500 sq m building, Te Ara o Mauao, features modern, flexible learning environments for students from all subject areas.

It will offer creative arts students modern sound recording studios and purpose-built spaces for art, graphics and photography.

Te Ara o Mauao is the first stage of a four-part campus redevelopment over the next 10 to 15 years.

Once completed, the project will link new and existing buildings and create landscaped areas for students and staff.