New flagship science facility spotlights positive outlook for Lincoln University

Significant growth in domestic student numbers, clear Government support and a raised awareness of the importance of the agritech industry to New Zealand’s economic development have all been factors in Lincoln University’s increased profile as a world-ranked land-based university.

This week he University ceremonially broke the first ground on its flagship science facility at an on-campus ceremony which capped off a 10-year journey for Lincoln, beginning with the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010/11 and concluding with formal Government approval for the construction of the new facility.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie said,

“Lincoln University has been producing primary sector graduates for more than 140 years, and we remain dedicated to equipping coming generations with the knowledge and skills needed to grow a better future.

“It’s only appropriate that we deliver our world-leading education and research from a science facility built for the ages.”

Professor McKenzie said the official Government approval, confirmed by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Finance Minister Grant Robertson in September 2020, reflected the Government’s support for Lincoln University and signalled the important role the University continues to play in shaping a more productive and sustainable future for New Zealand.

“Our University has always been a chief driver of innovation in the agritech sector, particularly in the food and fibre industries.

“Our new facilities will position us to take an even more prominent role in developing solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.”

Professor McKenzie said the fundamental change brought by COVID-19 across many sectors of New Zealand’s agriculture industry in the last 12 months has triggered a steeply rising demand for tertiary education in the land-based sciences.

“Lincoln University, as a globally-ranked land-based university, is strategically placed to capitalise on increased demand for agricultural qualifications from both students and employers.

“While our international enrolments have predictably declined due to the pandemic, our domestic student numbers have grown significantly.

“New domestic undergraduate student enrolments are up 33% on the same time last year, with a record 344% increase for new domestic postgraduate students,” said Professor McKenzie.

Construction on the new building begins next month and is expected to be completed in mid-2023. The fit-for-future science facility will feature state-of-the-art teaching, research and collaboration spaces complemented by multi-use adjustable workstations and social zones, all set within a regenerative and bio-diverse park-like environment.

Leighs Construction is the University’s construction partner for the new science facility, as well as a smaller, complementary science building which is nearing completion close to the campus’s southern boundary. The architectural designs for the new building were supplied by Warren and Mahoney.

In line with the University’s sustainable infrastructure goals, the new flagship science building will have a minimal environmental impact, incorporating roof-mounted and wall-mounted solar arrays, a ground-sourced air conditioning system and a rainwater-fed bathroom flushing system in its design.

Lincoln University is the only New Zealand university to achieve a ranking on the UI Green Metric World University Rankings, currently ranked 51 out of 912 universities. In partnership with Meridian Energy, Lincoln has recently boosted its commercial-scale solar energy generating capability, with several roof-mounted solar installations already delivering 250,000 kWh of clean renewable energy to the campus network per year.

The new science facilities are part of a wider campus development programme for Lincoln University that has already seen the launch of a vibrant and bustling new student hub and an expansive new outdoor events space featuring native plantings and a cultural heritage-inspired paved pathway.

The redeveloped LU Gym will offer significantly enhanced fitness, training and wellbeing support to the Lincoln community on its completion within the next several weeks.

Further campus projects including an ambitious and comprehensive decarbonisation programme which supports the University’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to cease the combustion of coal by 2024, the restoration of Ivey West and Memorial Hall and an overarching visionary landscaping masterplan, are in various stages of development.

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Source:  Lincoln University

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog