University's master plan a secret

TINA LAW
Last updated 05:00 13/11/2012

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The University of Canterbury wants to build a new teacher education centre, but will not say where it could be located.

Moving the university's College of Education from the Dovedale campus to the main Ilam campus was mooted in a campus master plan written before the earthquakes, but the university will not confirm if it is still on the agenda.

In a report to the university council, vice-chancellor Rod Carr said the university wanted to build a new teacher education centre "on campus".

Carr did not specify which campus, and the university declined to expand on the comment yesterday.

The campus master plan, which was being put together before the earthquakes, featured three scenarios of how the campus could look in the future.

Two of those options included the College of Education moving to the main campus.

Carr was commenting, in his latest report to the university council, on details of a business case the university has sent the Government asking for additional financial support after the earthquakes.

The university will not make the business case public, but in the report Carr said it included a remediation and building programme, including a new teacher education centre, a new regional science centre, a new global earthquake research centre and a modernised College of Engineering.

University spokesman John MacDonald said that out of respect for the Government, the university was not making the business case public and it was not going to answer any questions about it or enter into any discussion.

"This is all a proposal. Nothing is set in stone. We are just waiting for the Government."

MacDonald said the case pointed out that as a result of the financial impact of the 2010 and 2011 quakes, the university was expecting to make losses for several years. "Without borrowing, the university expects to run out of working capital by late 2014," he wrote.

In August, Carr said the university was haemorrhaging $100,000 each business day and 150 jobs would go during the next three years.

A 10-year financial forecast, issued by the university in August, said the university was expecting to post a $38 million loss this year and face deficits for the next four years.

Carr said the main driver for government support was the economic value the university brought to Canterbury as the third-largest employer in Christchurch, contributing $1.5 billion annually to the economy.

A spokesman for Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said the Government was considering the university's business case and a response would be made in "due course" after it had been to the Cabinet.

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- The Press

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