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Female-led team for Christchurch campus redevelopment

Monday 29 April 2019 11:14am

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The leaders of the University's Christchurch campus redevelopment (from left) Amanda Batchelor (The Project Office), Jo Wells-Folau (Otago), Tanya Syddall (Otago) and Hayley Fisher (Warren & Mahoney).

In what is possibly a New Zealand first, the University’s largest ever construction project is being led by a team of women.

In 2018 the University committed to redeveloping its Christchurch campus with the construction of a new building to house the majority of its health research activity, then redeveloping its existing main building to eventually house most of its health education activities.

The Christchurch campus teaches medical students in their fourth to sixth years, as well as more than 700 postgraduate health students. It is also home to many world-class research groups, including those studying cancer, heart disease, mental health and the biological and genetic causes of disease.

The new building will be on a site overlooking the river on Oxford Terrace in the heart of the city’s Health Precinct, and is scheduled for completion in 2023. Design for the redevelopment of the nearby existing building, on the Christchurch Hospital campus, will begin in 2024.

The four-strong female team is headed by University-employed project director Tanya Syddall. Before joining the University to work on the Christchurch project, she managed large-scale health projects in Australia, and most recently was the Director of the Capital Works department for Mater Group in South East Queensland. Her role at the Christchurch campus will be to drive the project team to achieve successful delivery of the project.

Jo Wells-Folau is the University-employed organisational delivery project manager for the Christchurch project. Her role is to ensure the buildings meet the specific health research and education needs of the campus. She will do this by ongoing liaison with representatives of the variety of staff and students who will ultimately use the redeveloped facilities. She will also manage a smooth transition to the new building when it is completed.

The female project team is completed by external project manager Amanda Batchelor from The Project Office, and project architect Hayley Fisher from Warren & Mahoney.

Chief Operating Officer Steve Willis says he is thrilled to have put together "such a formidable and experienced team for the University’s biggest ever project".

Project director Tanya Syddall says the team is currently in preliminary design phase which focuses on detailing how spaces within both the new and existing buildings will be used and how, for example, research groups will interact with each other and specialist laboratory equipment. The new building on Oxford Terrace will contain state-of-the-art laboratories and technology such as CT and MRI machines for research as well as some teaching and learning spaces.

This design phase is scheduled to finish in September. The project team will then move into developed design phase for the large-scale project.

Construction on the new Oxford Terrace building will begin with excavations on site from mid-2020.