Topic: Education

Canterbury University reveals future development plans

  • South Island

After completing its earthquake recovery, The University of Canterbury has revealed its exciting campus development plans for the next 30 years.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says, “The plan is an exciting step, and tangible proof we are now very much looking forward into the future - one that will see UC with a bright, vibrant, modern campus that will lead the world in many aspects of its development.”

The plan is developed by the university's Learning Resource team and required a great deal of research, analysis and consultation to determine the values, resources, habits and trends that would shape the plan's final vision. 

Learning Resources Executive Director Alex Hanlon says “It’s been really exciting to facilitate how our community will develop now and into the future. We started with the physical estate but then it was very much about how our spaces enable all the fantastic work that our University community does. From student events to high-end research facilities, UC is a little city inside a larger city. We had to consider how lots of different things relate to each other.”

Key themes emerged from a number of interactive workshops the team held with different stakeholder groups. 

“The same themes appeared again and again, and it was this input from the community itself that guided the underlying principles of the plan. People especially wanted a connected campus, one that encouraged interaction and inspiration around a strong and vibrant central hub that buzzes with activity,” Hanlon says.

An open expression of culture was considered crucial to the project, and Ngāi Tūāhuriri worked closely with the Learning Resources team, providing a cultural narrative to ensure the values and aspirations of mana whenua are clearly visible and accessible in any future development.

The first stage of the master plan provides key projects and initiatives through to the University’s 150-year Jubilee in 2023. The second stage envisages the next ten years through to 2045, and the third stage explores potential and identifies opportunities for expansion.

“This is not a short-term vision. It’s one that will guide campus development through to our Jubilee and beyond. Because of that, we’ve had to propose a staged development, and it has to be flexible of course – because so much can happen over a 30 year time span,” Hanlon says.

Through 2017 and 2018, three flagship projects will be completed at UC, creating some of the most modern teaching, learning and research facilities in the southern hemisphere.

Other buildings, including the Engineering precinct, and the new Regional Science and Innovation Centre will also be refurbished. 

“Once those buildings are open and students are reaping the benefits, it will really energise our campus. But in the meantime, we are working hard on finalising critical aspects of the masterplan, including transport, landscape and parking plans and a retail plan,” Hanlon says.

The plan has been developed to help the University achieve its strategic objectives of providing a unique and memorable campus experience, supporting innovative teaching and ground-breaking research, attracting increased number of students and encouraging ongoing engagement with the local community.

“It will provide a safe, secure, pleasant and inspirational environment where our community can explore, learn, discover, debate and grow,” Hanlon says.