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Commerce Building redevelopment announced

Tuesday, 1 March 2016 1:06pm

commerce-cut-away-image
A cut-away image of the inside of the proposed Commerce Building redevelopment – which will include a new spiral stair tower next to the lifts, a new roof, a new café, and a new glazed façade overlooking Union Street. Image: Courtesy of Mason and Wales Architects.

The University of Otago Commerce Building is about to enter a new era.

The University is planning to redevelop levels two and three within the Commerce Building, bringing it into line with a more modern learning environment.

Preliminary design plans include a new street entrance at level two that will be more accessible and inviting than the current entry, as well as a redeveloped student hub in the atrium. Divisional and MBA offices will be relocated, and some teaching spaces reconfigured.

University of Otago Property Services Director Barry MacKay says the redevelopment would meet the Business School’s long-term strategic needs for an outstanding campus environment that offers social spaces, functionality and provides for an enquiring learning culture.

"The efficiency and effectiveness of the new space will support collaborative as well as formal practice, and be flexible in the face of changing needs."

“The efficiency and effectiveness of the new space will support collaborative as well as formal practice, and be flexible in the face of changing needs,” Mr MacKay says.

“Commerce staff and students are looking forward to the reshaping of the existing atrium at the heart of the building into a shared engaging setting, meeting the need expressed by Commerce students for improved collegial study space.”

The building will be opened to the north and south, with the new access creating a welcoming entrance that has not previously existed for students or visitors.

The redevelopment will also address building performance issues. The upgrade will ensure the roof is weather-tight, and provide a safe and compliant entrance and internal environment for building users. It will also include fire design and seismic structural improvements.

The building design process and costs are currently being finalised, before the University applies for consents. The project will be put out to tender.

It is hoped construction will start in mid-2016, and be completed in August 2017.

Classes taught in the building will relocate to other parts of the University campus, but Commerce Division staff will remain during the construction process.