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Prime Minister Opens University of Otago Robertson Library

Students studying on the grass

Friday 5 August 2011 9:08am

The Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key will today officially open the University of Otago’s Robertson Library, following the completion earlier this year of a $10 million re-design and refurbishment.

The re-development is a joint University-Crown funded project, which has resulted in a second storey of library space and a thoroughly re-designed modern and landscaped building frontage on Union Street. The design is by Dunedin architectural firm McCoy and Wixon.

New facilities include extra study spaces for students and student groups, vastly enhanced online access, new windows providing natural light, a new social area extending to a landscaped courtyard and a total refurbishment throughout.

University Chancellor Mr John Ward says the re-development ushers in a new era for the Robertson Library, named in recognition of the outstanding contribution of Mr William Robertson (OBE, NZCE), the former chairman of the Dunedin Teachers’ College Council, Head of the Otago Polytechnic Engineering Department and former chairman of the former Otago Education Board. He had a great love of books, including a notable personal collection.

The original library was completed in 1981 for the College of Education. It was extended in 1989 to incorporate users at both the College of Education and the Otago Polytechnic.

In 2007 the merger of the University of Otago and the Dunedin College of Education led to a three-way agreement between the Polytechnic, the University and the Crown, and ownership was passed to the University. It then became a further branch of the University library system, maintaining its established focus on teacher education and on meeting the library needs of the adjacent Otago Polytechnic.

The University-College merger allowed for a $10 million upgrade of the library, on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis with the Crown. Plans were drawn up following the merger. Construction took place throughout 2010, and the building was ready for the start of the 2011 academic year.

“Staff and students say the new facility is a delight to study and work in. It is a design I am sure Mr Robertson would have been proud of,” says Mr Ward.

“The Government is also to be congratulated for having the foresight to part fund the project and contribute towards this fine new facility.”

For further information, contact

John Ward
University of Otago

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