Tauranga's new university campus is taking shape in Durham St and students are able to enrol for the first semester in 2019 - one-year ahead of schedule.

The Bay of Plenty Times was invited on an exclusive tour of the new Waikato University city campus and Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley said the original deadline was to have the campus operational by early 2020.

"But we are on track to do that a year early," he said.

"On schedule and on budget."

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Quigley said early completion would mean the university could focus on increasing student numbers from next year rather than waiting another year to boost enrolments.

"Hopefully it is good for the community as well to see everything moving on at some pace," he said.

Quigley said the university had pushed to have its own campus in the CBD since he became Vice-Chancellor in early 2015.

"To get it open for early next year, we are having to push pretty hard," he said.

Features of the multi-million dollar development include customisable teaching spaces, a 200-seat lecture theatre, a multi-function space, computer labs, and common areas for studying and socialising.

Waikato University senior deputy vice-chancellor Professor Alister Jones said the new campus allowed its 500 students at the Windermere and Bongard campuses to study together in one location.

"It will really create a community campus in the city," he said.

"It is a real prime location for students to come."

Jones said students could now apply for the first semester of 2019 and a new CBD campus meant the university could run its full programmes for people studying a degree, masters or PHD.

He said the university wanted to create a campus for 2000 students which would mean a huge economic boost for the community.

"Universities drive economic growth ... every dollar that the university brings in has a $4 multiply into the community," Jones said.

"If we bring $10m that is $14m extra into the economy because you have got students spending money in the community, buying food, rent and services."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley, Waikato University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones and Hawkins project director Roy Lehndorf on the top floor. Photo/Zoe Hunter
Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley, Waikato University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones and Hawkins project director Roy Lehndorf on the top floor. Photo/Zoe Hunter

Jones said the university hoped to put out expressions of interest to accommodation providers to help house its new students.

"[We are] looking to work with private and public developers to develop long term student accommodation solutions in 2020," he said.

Key funders of the $30m campus development included Tauranga City Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust.

"If it hadn't been for the community this wouldn't have happened," Jones said.

"The city really wanted it and that is why we are here."

Hawkins project director Roy Lehndorf said builders had been on site since July last year and had completed about 60,000 man-hours.

"Sub contractors have really brought into the project," he said. "They are all local to the project and really fired up about what the university is going to do for our community."


Undergraduate degrees 2019

• Bachelor of Business – a new three-year degree with strong links with local and regional business and a focus throughout on 'leading through innovation and entrepreneurship'.
• Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) – year one starting in 2019 and year 4 starting in 2022 if sufficient demand. Strong marine (coast and ocean) infrastructure focus (unique in NZ), plus mechanical (mechatronics).
• Bachelor of Science – strong marine focus with majors in environmental science, ecology and biodiversity and a new major in aquaculture (unique in NZ) and subject to approval.
• Bachelor of Social Science.
• Bachelor of Teaching.
• Bachelor of Social Work.
From 2019 post-graduate programmes
• Master of Information Technology.
• Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance.
• Master of Education.
• Master of Educational Leadership - Source Priority One.