New life for UCOL hub
Abuilding that helped nurture generations has been strengthened and modernised so it can help connect UCOL students to their future careers. Built in 1929, the former Palmerston North Plunket Rooms in King St is now Workhub — a space for industry to meet with students from UCOL’s creative, business, ICT, trades, health and science courses. The building has a 10-person board room, a creative space with workstations and a drinks station, and two bookable industry rooms. Workhub was established three years ago and is growing from strength to strength, UCOL chief executive Linda Sissons says. “Workhub is where industry, government and charities meet UCOL a¯konga who go on to participate in collaborative projects, apprenticeships, internships, clinical and industry placements.” Sissons thanked Mayor Grant Smith for opening the building last week and acknowledged the $30,000 contribution to the project from the city council. Smith said UCOL has a long history of protecting historic buildings, including the Palmerston North Technical College across the road. “We have retained another significant building that has been part of the King St streetscape for generations. It fits the building will continue to nurture people, this time providing them with a helping hand to enter the careers they trained for.” To mark the opening of the building, Bachelor of Creative Media a¯konga (students) Dearna Schofield and Laura Cannon created a mural depicting connections with new beginnings. The Plunket Rooms were designed by Ernst West of LG West and Son, who also designed the Soldiers Club and the Ward Bros building in the city. It is a brick single-storey building in the neo-Georgian design. In 1997, Manawatu¯ Polytechnic took over the building before it became part of UCOL. The building was used as a student health centre in keeping with its original purpose. In 2012, the building was closed and fenced off after the council identified the building as potentially being earthquakeprone. It is protected under the District Plan.