Otago Polytechnic
Kelly Gay. Photo Tim Hawkins

Last Thursday was Kelly Gay’s last official day as head of Otago Polytechnic’s Central Campus (OPCC), and he took the time to reflect on his time there, since taking up the position in 2018.

Asked what had been the successes of CCOP’s master plan during that time, Kelly says, “I’m happy to see the new admin block coming together, and the success of the Labour Day plant sales means Bannockburn Rd (Central Campus) is now fully established as our Horticultural ‘heart’ of our Campus. I’m also pleased with the operation of our leachate ponds and the golf course developments. In addition, the Medical/Botanicals growing area is coming along nicely. Overall, I’m pleased with the masterplans delivery.”

Although like all plans the master plan continues to evolve, Kelly anticipates that the next phase will focus on a student hub for some much-needed students services, and the movement of teaching spaces from the site in Erris St.

The collaborative spaces that have progressed mean that the Polytechnic now co-locates with REAP, Central Otago Winegrowers Association and PITO (Primary Industry Training Organisation).

During Kelly’s time, the campus has introduced such courses as the winery and the brewery, and Kelly says,

“Central Campus has a long tradition of focusing on specialist areas and local needs, and Central has developed some real and interesting specialisations. The next one being medicinal/botanicals which reflect the growing, harvesting and extracting from medicinal herbs.”

Kelly has accepted a position as Regional Manager for BCITO (Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation), based in Queenstown, which means staying in the region and with vocational education.

He says, “I would like to make a positive contribution to the integration of work-based learning and training to the construction industry. So, it seems a good place to head to make a difference.”

His closing reflection is, “The Campus is in an excellent place academically, with student numbers and financially. But most importantly, it is in an excellent position to embrace the future. That leaves a smile on my face.”

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