Tauranga students were given a glimpse of Tauranga's new University of Waikato campus taking shape through a virtual tour.
Students were able to step inside the Durham St campus using Virtual Reality technology at the Canvas Tauranga Careers Expo at ASB Arena on August 10-11.
Katrina Ford, 16, from Otumoetai College, was the first student to take the virtual tour.
"It was cool to see what it is going to look like," she said. "It is really modern and it will be nice and local."
The Year 12 student said she had considered attending the university after she had graduated school.
Lily Fletcher, 16, a year 12 Otumoetai College student, was at the expo with her school.
She said she hadn't completely decided which university she would go to but was looking at Auckland, Waikato University in Hamilton or Victoria University in Wellington.
But she admitted the prospect of studying in Tauranga was "definitely appealing" now that she had seen the new campus.
The university's senior future student advisor Andy Howells said the virtual tour was important for potential students to see what was on offer when the new CBD campus opened in 2019.
Howells said expressions of interest from schools had indicated "quite a bit of interest" in the new campus.
"A lot more are considering staying connected with their communities while still studying a degree," he said.
The university and builders Hawkins Construction had partnered with Better World Digital to bring the new campus to life through Virtual Reality at the careers expo.
Better World Digital founder Geoff Bentley said Virtual Reality was opening up possibilities within architecture, training, marketing, and even tourism, by removing physical barriers.
Bentley said the HTC VIVE headset being used at the careers expo will allow students to walk around the new campus.
"It's like you're really there," he said. "It will be very powerful and impactful for those students who step inside."
University of Waikato vice-chancellor Professor Alister Jones said the building was on track to be complete by 2019.
"It is all looking good... people will get a real sense of what it is going to look like," he said.
Jones said there had been a number of expressions of interest for student accommodation in the city to cater for the expected influx of new students.
"We have some accommodation in 2019 but there is major student accommodation planned in 2020," he said. "That is really exciting for Tauranga."
Students can take the virtual tour at stand number 1 at the Tauranga Careers Expo.
THE NEW CAMPUS:
- Communal study and social spaces
- 24-hour computer lab and a cafe
- 200-seat tiered lecture theatre and a noho centre