Polytech proffers ‘shovel-ready’ expansion

An artist’s impression of the Otago Polytechnic’s proposed Engineering, Building and Construction...
An artist’s impression of the Otago Polytechnic’s proposed Engineering, Building and Construction Trades Training Centre, estimated to cost more than $30 million. The facility would be sited at the polytechnic’s Dunedin campus, between Forth St and Harbour Tce. This perspective looks northeast towards St David St. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
Otago Polytechnic plans to build a $31.7million trades training centre, as the institute prepares to meet expected growth in the number of students pursuing building and construction qualifications.

The proposed Engineering, Building and Construction Trades Training Centre would be at the polytechnic’s main campus in Forth St, Dunedin.

Construction could start within six months, after approval and building consents were obtained, and the centre was expected to be completed about 2022.

The polytechnic had also proposed a $7million fit-out of a new building next to the new heavy automotive engineering facility in Donald St, Kaikorai Valley.

Both proposals had been submitted as "shovel-ready projects" to be considered by the Government’s Infrastructure Industry Reference Group.

Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker said its projects could support economic activity in Dunedin and the broader region to help the economy rebound from the Covid-19 crisis.

"Just as Otago Polytechnic has much to contribute to vocational education in New Zealand, we also acknowledge we have a part to play in an economic recovery," he said.

The Engineering, Building and Construction Trades Training Centre would be "significant to both the local and national construction industry, as major contractors seek to recover from the economic impacts of the lockdown". Building and construction trades programmes had been delivered from leased buildings, off-site, but those buildings needed re-roofing.

The polytechnic said the new facility would improve student access to services and allow for growth in student numbers in the trades. It would also give the institute more capacity to deliver apprenticeship programmes.

The polytechnic had already committed $4million to the project.

Automotive engineering programmes moved to the Kaikorai Valley site last year and the site to be fitted out for more engineering programmes was poised for more work.

The old building had been demolished, some site preparation undertaken and a contractor, Tuatara Structures, appointed.

The facility was a joint project between the polytechnic and Ohara Holdings, which owned the land.

If approval was quick, construction could start within four weeks and be completed early next year.

Mr Ker said Otago Polytechnic was a major training provider for engineering and trades, regionally and nationally.

"Learners educated through this facility would assist with the supply of trades people required for the hospital rebuild and other substantial projects within Dunedin and further afield."

 - Grant Miller

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