Auckland University's $2 billion two-decade upgrade is halfway as it narrows its focus from five to three campus sites and upgrades, demolishes or extends a swag of buildings.
Peter Fehl, the university's property services director, involved in the process since he left Victoria University in 2005, spelled out the scale of the work: "It's been about $920 million over the last 10 years, turning over just under $100 million a year and we're about to start the next $1 billion.
"We've got a plan - that keeps getting extended - for the next 10 years of capital works and that will be close to another $1 billion. We're looking at spending close to that ... on the current plan." The $2 billion comes from borrowing, fees, university income and more revenue-generating external research.
Fehl says the university could not afford to keep a static real estate portfolio. "Following decades of under-investment, many of the buildings were not fit for purpose," he said.
"The way students learn and how buildings function has changed. So to attract the best and brightest, we need to keep upgrading and we're creating more flexible spaces so buildings can be refitted as required in the next 20 to 30 years."
The property services team's focus now is on finishing the $200 million-plus science centre upgrade at the Symonds St/Wellesley St intersection, planning a $70 million-$80 million 600-bed Whitaker Place student hostel, a $280 million demolition and rebuilding of the Symonds St Faculty of Engineering buildings to create 30,000sq m of new space and redevelopment of the City Campus Recreation Centre. Student accommodation bed numbers have risen from about 1400 in 2006 to more than 2500 this year.
The upcoming sale of the 11ha Tamaki Innovation Campus in Glen Innes and the 9ha Epsom Campus are a focus, reducing site numbers from five (city, Grafton, Tamaki, Newmarket, Epsom) to three (city, Grafton, Newmarket).
The university bought the Newmarket Campus for $67.5 million and has since spent $84 million there - $57 million on four existing warehouses and $27 million on a new civil structures hall with one of the largest seismic testing walls in Australasia, a 9m structure capable of earthquake testing a building up to three storeys.
• Second-stage 343-bed new, purpose-built Carlaw Park Student Village (to be leased).
• Planning development of $70m-$80m, 600-bed student accommodation, 35 Whitaker Place beside Whitaker Hall.
• Planning for demolition and redevelopment of Symonds St Engineering Faculty buildings.
• Planning for enhanced student amenities and retail redevelopment.
• Planning for new City Campus Recreation Centre upgrade/extension.
• Future divestment of 11ha Tamaki Innovation Campus, Glen Innes.
• New Education and Social Work Faculty building, St Andrews Quarter, Alton Rd.
• $240m Grafton Campus Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences upgrade.
• 442-room University Hall built on Whitaker Place.
• $151.5m, 52.ha Newmarket ex-Lion Breweries campus purchase and upgrade.
• New purpose-built, privately owned 433-bed Carlaw Park Student Village block (leased).
• $200 million Science Centre redevelopment (to be finished early 2016).