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March 2, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Campus hub to get the student rub

A Special General Meeting (SGM) will be held in the Quad at Wednesday lunchtime for students to decide whether $12 million will be spent by the VUWSA Trust on the upcoming Campus Hub Redevelopment project.

The Campus Hub project will transform the Quad as we currently know it, making it the “social heart” of the campus. Also incorporated into the redevelopment plans are upgrades of the Library and the Student Union Building (SUB).

The Campus Hub project is being undertaken by Victoria University of Wellington in partnership with the VUWSA Trust.

At Wednesday’s SGM, the VUWSA Trust is seeking a formal mandate from students to enable the Trust’s continued support of the project. Student approval is required before the Trust can commit to spending $12 million over a 15-year period on Campus Hub.

Last year, the University Council gave its endorsement to the overall project, although the funding for the proposed work programme must be approved each year.

The Campus Hub Redevelopment plans propose that the Quad will be excavated to the same level as the SUB, creating a flat central area that will improve pedestrian flow and connections between the library, the SUB and the University’s Kelburn Parade entry by the Easterfield building.

The Quad itself will be enclosed to create a central “Hub”, which will be developed as a space for socialising and study. It is anticipated that space will be available in the Hub for retail developments such as cafés, book and computer stores, banking, and postal services.

The involvement of the VUWSA Trust has been integral to the Campus Hub project. “The reason there’s the Hub project and the reason it has all these student friendly spaces, I think, is because of the Trust’s involvement,” Chair of the VUWSA Trust, Alistair Shaw said.

The SUB was initially left out of the plans. The Trust, however, was “very keen on making sure that the SUB was part of the project,” Shaw said.

“There’s spaces that students want to work better in the Union Building. The Union Hall was identified as one and a specific place for clubs was identified as another. We also want… to create spaces for the rep groups to be able to work out of.”

The Union Hall will be redeveloped to make it a better venue for gigs. The capacity will be increased from about 700 to 1000, making it the only venue of this size in Wellington. Acoustic and sound-proofing improvements will be made, and access will be steamlined. A new bar and café in the Union Hall has also been proposed.

The current Mount Street Bar and Café will become a clubs space, with dedicated facilities such as meeting areas, social spaces and storage facilities for the sole use of clubs.

The VUWSA Trust has undertaken significant consultation with students, clubs and representative groups. “We made sure that there were student representatives at every discussion,” Shaw said.

“When we were fine tuning things, like what the clubs space going to look like, we had a forum for clubs to come along and talk about that.”

“We’ve been very careful with the University not to commit to anything without getting student’s agreement and to make sure that student reps have been involved in everything,” Shaw added.

Pending the approval of the Trust’s spending at the SGM, it is expected that most of the work in the SUB will be completed by Orientation 2010.

The Campus Hub is the most significant project outlined in Victoria’s Campus Development Framework (CDF). The CDF was released by the University in August 2006. It is a 10-year plan that provides direction for the future development of Victoria.

The new Hall of Residence on Fairlie Terrace, and a Research and Teaching facility currently under construction are other projects that were proposed in the CDF.

More information about the Campus Hub Redevelopment can be found at www.campushub.co.nz

In next week’s issue of Salient, we delve into the nitty gritty details of the Campus Hub project, if your attention span can cope with rigorous investigative student journalism.

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