Technology update for institute

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 13:00 21/02/2014
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ

IT'S OFFICIAL: Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology head Tony Gray with civil engineering diploma student Emma Cooper, carpentry tutor Steve McIntyre and Nelson Institute of Technology council chairman Ross Butler after the opening of the applied technology building.

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The new Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology $7.9m applied technology building was opened yesterday to a crowd of students, councillors, businesspeople and tutors.

Prime Minister John Key and Nelson MP Nick Smith were to be at the event, but fog in Wellington delayed their flight.

The three-storey facility in Hardy St is especially catered to the engineering and marine-based trades.

While it is already being used, construction is not yet completed. The old trades buildings are also being refurbished and are expected to be finished later this year.

The new building features simulation suites that mimic real-world environments and trades workshop areas where students work on real-size projects.

NMIT chief executive Tony Gray said technology was continuing to transform the way trades, engineering and maritime training were delivered. He believed the new facilities were as good as, if not better, than any around the country.

"The trades and maritime industries have always been vital to the regional economy as well as popular areas of study at NMIT but previously, we were constrained in what we could offer through our old facilities. Already we've been able to introduce a new diploma in civil engineering as a result of having the new facilities.

"We're also now in a position to be able to utilise the simulation suites to provide more customised training courses for industry, particularly in the maritime sector," he said.

Nelson architects Irving Smith Jack designed the new centre, and Fitzgerald Construction built it, while former NMIT apprentice Colin Anderson, of Onus Construction, oversaw the development as project manager.

Mr Anderson took block carpentry courses at the polytechnic in the 1970s. He had been involved with other building projects on the campus and was pleased with the new building. He said the latest building added to the growth and change he had seen at the polytech in the past few decades.

"When I first came here, there was just the old engineering block and an old house the tutors had their offices in," he said.

NMIT carpentry tutor Steve McIntyre held some of the first classes in the new building last week.

"I think the building was built with the students in mind, it's their space, there are computers, couches and it's a positive energy with bright colours, lots of windows and light, and no wasted spaces."

He said the building showed the carpentry apprentices he taught that there was a future for building in Nelson.

"It's great to see Nelson and and NMIT investing in trades and maritime."

Civil engineering student Emma Cooper started her two-year diploma this week in the purpose-built building.

A mother of three, this was her first time studying and while she expected challenges this year, she was looking forward to her study.

"I want variety; when I worked in admin it was the same thing every day. Here, I will get a variety of projects."

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- The Nelson Mail

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