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The Tauranga campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has picked up another award.

The campus - which opened in 2016 - has previously been recognised for its design in the 2016 Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architectural Awards and late last year it was judged the winner of the Accessible and Inclusive Building category at the inaugural Tauranga City Accessibility Awards.

The awards were launched in 2017 by the city’s Disability Advisory Group, which works with the Tauranga City Council on the implementation of its Disability Strategy. They aim to celebrate business owners who have made accessibility a feature of their new building, organisers say.

Judges were impressed with the design, layout and accessibility of the campus and felt it embraced Universal Design principles and was an outstanding example of a building which was accommodating to students, who live with a disability.

Regional operations manager Murray Rillstone says the campus architects – Wingate Architects - factored accessibility into the initial design and the benefits were clear.

“It gives all our tauira equal opportunity to have a learning experience with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa,” he says.

“Since it’s brand new, we had the opportunity to add these accessibility concepts to the design. It was the first time we’ve been able to build something from the ground up. Our other sites have been pre-existing or modified.”

Judges made only two recommendations to further improve accessibility: signage for disability bathrooms and a small ramp down from the classrooms to the outdoor concourse.

Murray says it was good to get the feedback from the judges and “those are things we can work on”.

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