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Student Central – officially opened at Massey University Albany today – provides a heart for the campus and vital place to “hang out,” according to guest speaker the Hon Steven Joyce.
As Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Mr Joyce told the gathering of staff, students, alumni and the campus founder Sir Neil Waters that the world is entering a skills race for tertiary-trained young people, and he anticipates an increase in the number of enrolments at New Zealand universities in the future.
“It’s a fantastic day today to see this facility in place. It’s going to help with what I call the pastoral care of students which I think is very important if you are going to have good results. And it’s part of the growing story that is the Massey University Albany campus.
“The new facility here will be the heart of the campus, because actually students need more than to learn. Students need space outside the lecture theatres where they can meet their friends, access services, have space to study, and as we used to say in the eighties, ‘just hang out’.
“Excellent facilities can have a strong impact on student achievement,” he said, as students need places for “relating and discussing with others as part of learning”.
“Tertiary education is an important part in growing New Zealand’s economy. The students we are training today will go to drive the future of New Zealand, not just economically, but socially and culturally.”
He said the population of the North Shore was expected to increase by 30,000 to 40,000 over next 10 years, and its people were well-served by range of programmes at Albany.
He alluded to his connections to the campus, graduating on the North Shore in 2001, although he completed his undergraduate degree in zoology at Massey’s Manawatu campus in 1983. He also has a home in Albany when not residing in Wellington.
Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey paid tribute to Sir Neil Waters for his vision of building a campus at Albany when there was just a lone house in the area. He also congratulated the Albany Students’ Association for working in partnership with the University to build the $15m centre and “for being willing to put their money where their aspirations are”.
“What a remarkable effort. This project has gone from woe to go in a very short period of time, and it is under budget.”
Engineering student Banu Pashutanizadeh, who was MC as president of the Academic Toastmasters Club at Massey, said the building “is very special to us, because it's a dedicated place for us to gather, here at the heart of Massey University Albany”.
Professor Sir Mason Durie explained the meaning the seven pou (Mäori carved steel poles), which form a circle in the outdoor plaza area of the centre, to represent the path taken by students on their learning journey.
The pou give the area a distinctive Mäori presence, in recognition of the University’s close relationship with tangata whenua. They were designed by Whakatane artist Arekatera (Katz) Maihi to symbolise the University’s Mäori learning philosophy, Te Kunenga ki Pürehuroa (From Inception to Infinity) – a principle relevant to all students. Each pou represents a stepping stone through the journey of learning, from the first seed of thought to ultimate academic achievement.
The opening of the centre means students can now find coffee, food, a comfortable place to meet and make friends, talk to student union representatives, get a health check, see a counsellor, and take advantage of travel and retail facilities under one roof.
The building’s striking contemporary architecture (Warren and Mahoney) is designed to complement the campus’s iconic Opus Architecture-designed Mediterranean hilltop concept.
To reflect the University’s sustainability goals, Student Central has innovative features such as mechanically operated louvre windows that open and close in response to temperature, humidity, wind and rain sensors to keep the building at a comfortable temperature for as long as possible before air conditioning needs to be turned on. Occupancy movement sensors have been fitted throughout for increased energy efficiency, and daytime artificial lighting is reduced thanks to design features allowing in more natural light.
Outdoors, the graciously composed plaza area – constructed of 9,500 terrazzo pavers and adorned with 2,733 plants – has numerous places to sit and enjoy sunshine and fresh air, and ample space for student events.
Ms Pashutanizadeh said the building truly belongs to the current 7000 students enrolled at Albany campus, and to all students – past and future – whose contribution towards funding, through a special levy, has helped to make this keenly anticipated project a reality.
Created: 23/03/2012 | Last updated: 30/03/2012
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