Polytechnic seeks to expand Central campus

An architect's impression shows the entrance of the proposed expansion at the Otago Polytechnic's...
An architect's impression shows the entrance of the proposed expansion at the Otago Polytechnic's Central Campus, in Bannockburn Rd. IMAGE: MCCOY WIXON ARCHITECTS
A 10-year plan for Otago Polytechnic's Central campus will include further expansion of its Bannockburn Rd site, according to a resource consent application.

The proposal follows a $3million redevelopment of the Bannockburn site during the past year. A $1.5million student accommodation complex was completed early last year, and a new $1.5million trades and craft brewery building opened in December.

The new application, for a land use consent with a 10-year lapse period, is to further expand the Bannockburn Rd facilities and relocate some of the operations from the polytechnic's Cromwell site there.

The four-stage polytechnic "masterplan'' for Bannockburn Rd - for which stage one, including last year's development, is almost completed - would see the addition of a new cooking and hospitality building, incorporating a retail cafe/restaurant open to the public, a retail outlet for the existing brewery, a distillery, comprising a teaching facility and retail outlet, new propagation facilities, including retail sales of plants grown on-site, and other new student learning spaces and administration areas.

It would be done over an area of about 12,800sq m of the 9.27ha site and involve about 10,000cu m of earthworks.

Most of the Central Campus operation would then be at the Bannockburn Rd site, although some education and training facilities, as well as additional accommodation, would remain in Cromwell.

No pricetag or specific timeframe is given for the next expansion, but the polytechnic was seeking a "flexible consent'', due to "the staged nature of the development, and the polytech's practical need to adapt its programmes and activities over time'', the application, from Mitchell Daysh Ltd, on behalf of Otago Polytech Ltd, said.

The application does not mention the uncertainty nationwide about vocational education at present, after the Government unveiled proposals to merge all 16 polytechnics and Institutes of Technology to become the "New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology''. The proposal is being opposed by Otago Polytechnic and the Southern Institute of Technology.

But the application says the Central Campus masterplan "envisions 'vertical integration' of trade training and education activities, with retail components relating to this training/education, provided within the same site''.

The proposed development is in the rural resource area. But traffic and visual effects would be no more than minor, the application said. The retail component of the proposal was also "unique'', relating to training and education, and would not set a precedent for other retail facilities in rural resource areas, the application said.

The application proposed conditions including that the cafe would operate between 7am and 10pm seven days a week, and the distillery and brewery would operate between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Saturday. A maximum of an additional 20 events operating until 1am would be permitted annually.

Submissions on the application close on April 30.



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