Tauranga campus funds up for debate

NARELLE HENSON
Last updated 14:25 15/07/2014

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The fate of the University of Waikato's proposed multimillion-dollar Tauranga campus could be decided today.

The $67 million project was first put forward by the university at the start of 2012. At the time, domestic students were fast filling its ranks, with around 600 from the far side of the Kaimai Range.

The Tauranga City Council has approved the donation of land in Durham St, but funding from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust ($15m each) is also necessary if the project is to go ahead.

In August, the regional council approved its portion, and today the trust will discuss whether or not to support the project.

A report for the Tauranga City Council by Waikato Management School Professor Frank Scrimgeour shows the campus will pump $188m into the local economy over the next 20 years, providing a rate of return-on-investment of 30 per cent.

The analysis claims that an estimated 6500 students would start studying in Tauranga between 2015 and 2035, providing the region with more than 4000 graduates. Although the campus would require funding, it would keep undergraduates in the region and attract teachers and postgraduate and international students.

Waikato University has had a presence in the Bay of Plenty since 1996 and currently runs 12 courses in the area. It also works with Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Whakatane's Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, and Waiariki Institute of Technology under the "Bay of Plenty Tertiary Partnership" banner.

The four education providers will work together to raise the rest of the funding, should the project be approved.

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- Waikato

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