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March 25, 2013 | by  | in News |
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We’ve got hub!

The University and VUWSA made it official last week, drawing alumni, foreign dignitaries, and the Governor General to the Campus hub opening ceremony.

The opening of the hub saw speeches from Chancellor and Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon, Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh, VUWSA Trustee Dr Alastair Shaw, VUWSA President Rory McCourt, and his Excellency, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General of New Zealand. Mateparae unveiled
a plaque marking the occasion.

McKinnon began by thanking students and staff for their tolerance during construction, recognising the frustration felt by students over the past two years.

Dr Shaw noted the $12 million contribution from students through the VUWSA Trust, and the commitment from student representative bodies to the project since 1999.

McCourt spoke proudly about the partnership between students and the university. “That partnership has seen over 100,000 students pass through our gates, has seen dozens of student representatives sit on the boards and committees […] and make sure this space is truly student-centred. “It has been that vision, that foresight, and those students and their funds, which has made this truly possible. But it’s also been about a university [which has] been prepared to listen,” said McCourt.

Walsh described the process as a “transformation,” recounting the history of the quad and describing the new building as providing “a sense of unity for the university community”. Walsh also confessed the building’s ‘hub’ name had been adopted as they “couldn’t really think of anything else.” “I’m not sure whether we ever really will [think of a better name]. It really is the hub,” said Walsh.

To Governor-General Jerry Mateparae, it was a “special day” for an “amazing facility”. Mateparae congratulated everyone involved in what he described as the anchor of the Kelburn campus, mixing nautical metaphors as the gathered crowd overlooked the sculpture of Maui’s fish hook now installed in the Beaglehole courtyard. “I acknowledge and applaud the significant contribution of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, and its Trust.

“[The hub] seems to be a comfortable place to meet friends or colleagues, definitely; to have lunch, probably; to buy a book, possibly; or to study, maybe,” quipped Mateparae.

The current hub redevelopment was the largest project in the university’s history, in both magnitudinal and financial terms. A time capsule has been buried underneath the courtyard to be opened in 2113, containing—among other things—old copies of salient, maps, scientific equipment, a laptop and a cellphone.

Students have been using the hub since February, with the new quad opening at the start of the first week of classes. The new VicBooks and café hubside are fully operational, and students spoken to by Salient were happy with the new facilities and central hub space. “The burgers are shit, though,” one student told Salient.

The Campus hub project was derailed when main contractor Mainzeal went into receivership in February. LT McGuinness have since been signed to finish the job, although no final completion date has been set. Despite the potential loss of millions post-receivership, Mainzeal employees were present at the ceremony. Salient suspects they left their complimentary afternoon tea unfinished.


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