Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey has announced the first stage of a $57 million project to relocate the College of Education from the Hokowhitu site to Turitea on the Manawatu campus and substantial construction and upgrading of buildings.
The total project, over five years, will involve approximately $57 million for major refurbishments, including seismic strengthening, of the Sir Geoffrey Peren and Refectory buildings, the likely construction of a new multi-storey building and alterations and upgrades to several others.
The first stage, which has a $5.6 million budget approved for this year by the University Council, will involve construction of temporary villages on Colombo Rd and Collinson Rd to house College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Education staff, reconfiguration of teaching spaces in various buildings, design work for the restoration and upgrade of the Sir Geoffrey Peren Building and Refectory and relocation of the College of Education into buildings on the Turitea site by the end of the year.
Mr Maharey says directly affected staff and student representatives have been briefed on the plans in recent days. The aim is to achieve most of the initial relocations before the end of the year. "We aim to provide the very best working and learning environment for our staff and students and this project – actually a series of inter-related projects – will do just that," Mr Maharey says. "Plans have been worked on for several years and it is already generating a great deal of excitement among staff and students. It will not only bring staff from the five colleges together on one site for the first time, it will also provide greater opportunities for College of Education students to join the main student body and more readily consider a wider range of study options as part of their qualifications."
The College of Education relocation, with associated construction projects, is budgeted to cost $33.2 million, including $10 million for a new multi-storey building between Business Studies Central and Refectory, overlooking the Oval. The restoration and seismic strengthening of the heritage buildings is expected to cost about $23 million.
Mr Maharey says the major capital works developments are not confined to the Manawatu campus. "This year we are opening a new $20 million College of Creative Arts building on the Wellington campus that will enable us to proceed with plans to recruit new international postgraduate students. At Albany we are about to open a $15 million student amenities centre that will become a hub for student services, dining, shopping, clubs and social activity."
The Sir Geoffrey Peren building, constructed 1929-31 was the original base of the Massey Agricultural College incorporating science laboratories, lecture theatres, library and office space for staff. In 2010 it was re-named after Massey's first principal. Under a conservation plan developed in 2009 it will be restored largely to its original condition as well as earthquake strengthened.
The Refectory building, built at the same time but completed in 1930, was originally the dining hall and lounge for students living on campus but later converted to teaching and office space. It will also be returned largely to its original design and a mezzanine floor, built in 1963-64, removed. College of Business staff in that building will be the first to be relocated, by the end of next month. Staff in Sir Geoffrey Peren will be relocated in July.
About 350 staff will be affected by the relocations and a similar number of College of Education students will move from Hokowhitu to Turitea for lectures. Staff and students from Te Uru Maraurau, the College of Education's School of Maori and Multicultural Education, will be co-located with Putahi a Toi, the Collger of Humanities and Social Sciences' School of Maori Studies.
It is planned to have the seismic upgrade of Refectory completed by mid-2014. Sir Geoffrey Peren should be ready for Humanities and Social Sciences staff to move back into by the start of 2015.
Some University operations will need to be temporarily relocated from Turitea to Hokowhitu while the construction work is being completed.
Relocating the College of Education will enable the New Zealand Defence Force, which already leases space at Hokowhitu to increase its presence. Negotiations are continuing with other parties interested in purchasing parts of the 10.1ha site on Centennial Drive.