October 25, 2021 Share
Originally published as a column in Whats on Invers
Watching the new Southern Institute of Technology’s $17 million Centre of Creative Industries develop is tremendously satisfying.
As CEO I worked closely with the previous board in developing this new inner city facility for students, and indeed for the whole of Southland, to enjoy.
It will be one of the most contemporary creative education sites in the country, housing SIT’s school of music and screen arts school, and including a new café which will be open to the public. It is being built in and around the historic St John's Anglican Church on Tay Street.
As one of my last major SIT projects it is special to me, but now as Invercargill’s Member of Parliament, I feel an even greater sense of satisfaction as this development nears completion.
Funded entirely from cash reserves, with no external funding sources required, this is Southland money, funding a Southland project.
Unfortunately SIT’s remaining reserves are now under threat with the Government’s new polytechnic merger programme set to take that Southland money and effectively use it as working capital for other troubled tertiary institutions.
I am therefore satisfied that we managed to get this project off the ground, using some of those reserves for our own community’s benefit.
At SIT we got on and worked out how to make our polytechnic successful - a leader in tertiary education in New Zealand – with our zero-fees scheme, innovative distance education SIT2LRN, and International education focus.
Those initiatives, and astute management and investment, allowed us to build a substantial reserves fund.
Those funds might soon be gone, but the Government cannot take this amazing facility away from Southland.