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Christchurch building gets final approval to start work

Friday 11 June 2021 10:54am

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Work on the University of Otago's Christchurch campus and in the heart of Te Papa Hauora is expected to get underway shortly.

The University of Otago Council has this week approved final and full funding for a planned $178 million (total project) building on its Christchurch campus and in the heart of Te Papa Hauora – the Christchurch health precinct.

The approval for the final $153 million comes shortly after resource consent for the project was approved by the Christchurch City Council and the appointment of a preferred main contractor which means the project, after several years in planning, will get underway shortly.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson was delighted to be able to announce the milestone to staff on Wednesday, 9 June.

“This will be the biggest construction project the University has ever undertaken and will enable the growth of our world-class health science research and education programmes happening on our Christchurch campus.

“I’m excited for our staff and students, who will benefit from both this new building and its location in the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct.”

The University of Otago’s Christchurch campus is a training base for medical, nursing, physiotherapy and other health science students. It is also a highly research-intensive campus, hosting a number of world-class research groups.

It is home to more than 500 staff (including clinical staff jointly employed by the Canterbury DHB) and more than 1000 students. Students on the campus are completing their final three clinical years of a medical degree or postgraduate students in a wide range of health-related degrees.

The six-level building is planned to be a 5-Star Green Star development and will be built on the site of the former Tillman’s furniture store at 24 Oxford Tce. It has been in the planning stages since 2017.

Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Willis says that this is an exciting step forward in completing one of the last major developments required to fulfil the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct vision. He notes that the project is not only significant to the university but is significant nationally and regionally with around 545 jobs per year being created with the majority being in Christchurch.

Dean of the University of Otago, Christchurch, Professor David Murdoch, says the new building is a clear statement from the University about its commitment in Christchurch. The building will be a central part of Te Papa Hauora and enable greater collaboration with other partner organisations in the Precinct, Professor Murdoch says.

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The building is expected to open in 2025.

The building will contain four floors of laboratories, the campus’ Outpatient Clinical Research facilities, the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies, the Department of Psychological Medicine, Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science, teaching and learning facilities, and an Imaging Suite.

Space is also planned to co-locate strategic partners in the building.

The campus currently consists of a main eight-storey building adjoining the Christchurch Hospital on Riccarton Ave, and a number of smaller facilities a short distance away.

Detailed design of the new building is expected to be complete in August this year, and initial bores investigation work has been finished with further testing on site in the coming month.

Enabling work on location is expected to begin in July.

The building is expected to open in 2025.