English to open facility

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will officially open the Southern Institute of Technology's $3.4 million student accommodation block tomorrow.

Mr English, who is also Clutha-Southland MP and finance minister, plus guests, will be welcomed by institute council deputy chairman Peter Heenan, kaumatua Riki Cherrington and chief executive Penny Simmonds.

The Invercargill-based institute built the block in Remarkables Park Town Centre to support the increasing influx of students studying hospitality and tourism, construction, business, computing, beauty therapy and sports training in Queenstown.

Construction took between nine and 12 months and the first students arrived to stay on December 20 last year.

The block can accommodate up to 54 students in nine units. Each of the three bedrooms per unit has its own en suite bathroom and the lounge and kitchen are shared.

There are 17 students, including four international students, residing there now and more are expected at the next intake.

More buildings are planned in Remarkables Park to provide further retail, recreation, accommodation and education, including the relocated Wakatipu High School, for 1500 pupils. Construction is expected to start in 2015.