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New building project

Webcam image of construction site. Webcam view of the new Dentistry building site.

The University of Otago Council has agreed to spend in excess of NZ$200 million on a number of capital projects, including a new dental school building.

Work on the new building started in November 2015.

"The University Council and executive are delighted to now be in a position to announce the plans to the wider University and the Dunedin community. These substantial developments will give the University a significant boost nationally and internationally, and will reinforce our stellar reputation for teaching and research. Quality environments and technology of the highest possible standards are vitally important as we go forward as a leading New Zealand research and educational institution," say Professor Hayne and Mr Ward.

New Dental School
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Jasmax.

The new Dentistry Building will be tasteful, modern, and energy efficient, deploying the latest construction methods, and has been designed with great care to ensure they reflect our already world-class campus setting.

This project has been in the planning stages for some time and the commitment to the capital expenditure involved is both exciting and challenging.

Property Services Director Barry MacKay says the University has appointed Jasmax, an Auckland-based architectural firm that has experience in providing hospital-type facilities for the design work for the new dental school. In keeping with values in the 2010 Campus Master Plan, the research and teaching facility, which undertakes all the dental training for New Zealand, will reflect excellence in architecture.

Reception in the new Dentistry building
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Jasmax.

The heritage-listed glass-curtain facade will be replaced with a replica facade that meets current standards of weather-proofing and technology. The mosaic north-facing wall will also be strengthened and renovated, with both aspects to be undertaken with the assistance of Salmond-Reed Heritage specialists. There will also be ongoing consultation at each stage of this adaptive re-use project with Heritage New Zealand, which lists the 1961-built modernist building as a Category 1 historic place.

A new clinical building of very similar size and scale to the existing Walsh building (dental school), but unique in its own way, will be built adjacent to it, thus providing the extra space the Faculty of Dentistry requires.

To make way for the new structure, the west wing of the Walsh building, and the remainder of the University's Barningham building behind the existing Walsh building, will both be removed. The new 8,000 square metre clinical building, as well as an 1800 square metre atrium and 'social space' linking it to the Walsh building, will be constructed on this footprint.

The central atrium of the new Dentistry building
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Jasmax.

This clinical building will house clinical services including Radiography, Oral Surgery, Paediatric Dentistry, undergraduate clinics, and Orthodontics that are currently housed in the Walsh building. In total there will be 211 new dental chairs, 61 more than the existing dental school.

The 8,000 square metres of space in the Walsh building will be refurbished to house laboratories for research, academic offices, student support, and teaching spaces.

Looking down from the atrium of the new Dentistry building
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Jasmax.

"The new building will have its own look, but in size and scale it will link back to the heritage and existing architecture of the 1960s Walsh building," says Mr MacKay.

Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry Professor Paul Brunton says staff at the Dental School are excited that the plans have advanced to this stage.

Clinics in the new Dentistry building
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Jasmax.

"The physical environment is really important for staff and students but also for the patients who access our clinical services.

"The Faculty already has an excellent reputation but a new facility will allow us to grow, develop and innovate such that I anticipate we will, in due course, be the best of the best in Australasia and beyond."

A teaching space inside the new Dentistry building
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Jasmax.