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Otago to build new 450-bed Te Rangi Hiroa residential college

Wednesday 23 October 2019 10:32am

Artist's impression Image
An artist's impression for the new Te Rangi Hiroa residential college

The University of Otago is building a new 450-bed residential college to meet a forecast increase in student enrolments and to respect a gift bequeathed by descendants of a distinguished former student, Te Rangi Hiroa.

The college will be on university-owned land on the corner of Albany and Forth Streets and is scheduled to be operational for the 2023 academic year.

The college will be on seven levels over four wings and will include 125 en-suite rooms, professional college staff accommodation, reception and offices, dining hall and kitchen, and multi-functional communal spaces.

The project will boost the University’s number of residential beds by 325, enabling Otago to cater for predicted growth in first–year enrolments. The total estimate for design, construction, furnishings and overheads is in the order of $90m.

The name Te Rangi Hiroa and the college’s identity will transfer to the new facility. The existing 125-bed college may close at the end of 2022 to make way for the new Dunedin Hospital or may continue as residential accommodation for a period depending on the progress of the hospital project.

Descendants of Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck), the University’s first Māori graduate, gifted the use of his name for the existing college which opened in 2014.

The new college will incorporate input from Te Rangi Hiroa’s Ngāti Mutunga iwi and local Ngāi Tahu throughout the design process.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the new college was an opportunity to build on the Te Rangi Hiroa culture developed by staff and students over the past five years.

“It is important that we respect the taonga gifted to the University by creating a facility that can proudly bear the name of Te Rangi Hiroa.

“The existing Te Rangi Hiroa is a popular residential college and we can continue to honour this gift in the new college.”

THR Concept Image Internal AH
A conceptual internal image of Te Rangi Hiroa

University of Otago Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville QC welcomed the addition of the new college to Otago’s residential campus.

“We offer a unique student experience at Otago and for many of our first-years an integral part of that is staying in a residential college.

“Our students have high expectations so our intention is to continue to provide them and our staff with the best possible facilities. This new college will continue that tradition.”

University Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis said adding beds would future-proof the University as it seeks to match capacity with forecast increases in numbers of New Zealand school leavers. In addition, in the short-term, the extra capacity will also allow other residential colleges to be upgraded.

The scale of the project reflects the University’s continuing commitment to investing in its own residential colleges.

“Otago recognises the value of operating its own residential colleges and running them to the highest possible standards of safety, academic support and pastoral care.”

Like all University of Otago owned and operated colleges, the new Te Rangi Hiroa will have a team of professional staff living on site, supported by Collegiate Community Leaders (Residential Assistants), administration and reception staff, its own dedicated kitchen and dining room staff, academic tutors and evening security.

All staff have either primary or secondary roles in pastoral care and student wellbeing.

As part of the University of Otago’s ongoing sustainability agenda, the new college is intended to achieve a NZ Green Building Council 5-star Green Star rating (NZ Excellence) for the building, encompassing energy efficiency, innovation and sustainability.

The new college will be built on the site of the University’s Albany St recording studio which is to be demolished early next year.

New recording studios are being built as part of the University’s $26 million Music, Theatre and Performing Arts & College of Education project in Union St East which is scheduled to be operational in February 2020.