Multimillion-dollar Waiariki project begins

By Dana Kinita

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Information centre opens

BLESSING: Waiariki Institute of Technology kaumatua Ken Kennedy says a karakia (prayer) while leading the procession of staff, students and construction representatives on the site of a planned $10.2 million health and science building. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER 221113SP2
BLESSING: Waiariki Institute of Technology kaumatua Ken Kennedy says a karakia (prayer) while leading the procession of staff, students and construction representatives on the site of a planned $10.2 million health and science building. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER 221113SP2

The first sod has been turned over marking the start of building a multi-million-dollar health science building project at Waiariki Institute of Technology.

The $10.2 million teaching facility is set to open its doors in 2015 and is part of the rejuvenation of the Mokoia Campus.

A delegation of 50 staff, students and construction representatives gathered at the site yesterday and was led around the grounds as Waiariki kaumatua Ken Kennedy recited a karakia (prayer) during the ground-breaking ceremony.

Mr Kennedy also acknowledged the site had previously been occupied by Te Kura Maori (Department of Maori Development) which had moved to the campus to be by Ihenga Marae.

Waiariki council chairman Graeme Nahkies dug the spade into the site and then cut the ribbon to signify the opening of the Information Centre which is expected to become the hub of student and public activity.

"Providing a high-quality institute with enhanced facilities, services and systems to support the needs of students and staff is one of the key outcome areas for Waiariki and both of these initiatives contribute to that," Mr Nahkies said.

Waiariki chief executive Professor Margaret Noble said the day was exciting for the region's distinctly bicultural institute and the effect of both new facilities would enhance future student experiences and extend the services that Waiariki provides.

"Once completed the health and science building will provide a modern teaching environment which will help our students and staff excel while the Information Centre provides a central point of contact with Waiariki for both prospective and current students and for visitors to Mokoia Campus," Professor Noble said.

"Today is a very important part of the refurbishment and revitalisation of the campus.

"We are going to transform to ensure Waiariki is the first choice for students in the region."

The Information Centre was designed to give better customer service to students as well to support the institute's direction to ensure students have all the information they need to make the choice of course and qualification.

It also houses the institute's Careers and Employability Centre which provides students with help and support in developing their employment skills and in finding jobs.

This initiative provides a permanent information base after one-stop-shop trials during recruitment periods earlier this year.

Waiariki's Health and Science building is targeted to be completed in time for the 2015 academic year while the Information Centre will be open officially to deal with any enquiries from Monday.

The planned building had been designed by Darryl Church with MOAA Architects and Hawkins Construction with work due to start next week.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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