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Music project striking right note

Monday 20 May 2019 8:14am

Going up ... the University's new music recording studio, with Site Manager, Stage 1, Ross Duncan. The two-storey precast concrete panels came to site as one length, rather than being joined in the middle on site. Photos: Sharron Bennett.

More huge concrete panels are about to go up at the site of the University’s new music recording studio, a host are already up and a lot of other work is going on out of sight, University of Otago Campus Development Division Director David Perry says.

Work with the concrete panels has been highly visible – the heaviest one delivered to site and erected so far was about 25.5 tonnes, while the longest panel was about 15 metres. More of the panels are arriving next week, he says.

All the panels are being used in both the new two-storey music recording studio – beside the Robertson Library in Union Street East – and a new link between the existing University of Otago College of Education Music Suite and Teaching Wing. That link will improve access by having two lifts.

Underway ... the new link being built to connect the existing University of Otago College of Education Music Suite and Teaching Wing.

Contractor Naylor Love is working on several tasks simultaneously for those two new buildings; putting up structural steel and timber framing while erecting the concrete panels. The structural steel alone weighs about 110 tonne in total.

As part of this construction project, the contractors are also doing a lot of work out-of-sight inside three neighbouring existing University of Otago College of Education buildings.

Naylor Love has stripped out the existing Music Suite - now known as the Performing Arts Suite - which involved using a light-weight remote-controlled demolition machine on the internal stairs – hitting hard with more than 406 kilojoules at the tip, Mr Perry says.

Dunedin’s Accurate Cutting Ltd says it was proud to bring the first Brokk 160 to New Zealand. The machine can fit through doorways, is quieter because it is electric, has a remote control so the work is safer, and is still precise.

Music-interior small image
A room inside the existing Music Suite, now known as the Performing Arts Suite.

Mr Perry says the contractors are now rebuilding the Performing Arts Suite internally – installing framing, insulation, wall linings, cabling, ducting, pipes and ceilings, while also Gib stopping and filling redundant window openings with concrete.

The contractors are working to replace electrical and mechanical services inside the neighbouring existing Teaching Wing and Tower Block as well, while doing some minor alterations and repainting most of the interiors.

This $26 million project run by the University’s Senior Project Manager Steven Ireland is striking the right note – it’s on time and on budget, and the piling work was finished two weeks ahead of schedule.

The main piling rig was about 23 metres long and could lift up to 80 tonnes – and piles for the new music recording studio and link buildings would cover about 565.5 metres if laid end-to-end.

So far, almost 250 Naylor Love employees, subcontractors and consultants have been inducted to work on the site, Mr Perry says.

All refurbishments of the existing buildings should be completed late this year, and the new building in early 2020.

In the meantime, tree-lovers can rest assured three of the trees removed from Union Street East and the Otago University Childcare Association College Early Learning Centre – Rōpu Tiaki Tamaiti have been saved. One of the cherry trees was rotten inside so could not be.

The other cherry tree – that is about 30 years old – has been replanted on mounds between the Science 2 and 3 buildings, and a lancewood about the same age is now in front of Science 3, on the Cumberland Street side.

A hornbeam tree of indeterminate age that was on Union Street East belongs to the Dunedin City Council and has been temporarily relocated to the University’s compost site at Sawyers Bay. It will be returned to its original site, Mr Perry says.

This project aims to deliver:

  • State-of-the-art, purpose-designed facilities should attract high-quality students, and make recruiting and retaining high-quality staff easier
  • The facilities will provide cutting-edge support for everything from a first-year student learning to use a microphone to a doctoral student running complex acoustic experiments
  • The project will consolidate the department’s staff, students and activities more, instead of them being spread around 10 locations on campus
  • The new building and technology will create more opportunities for collaborating locally, nationally and internationally – on teaching, research, performance, and production
  • Refurbishing the Teaching Wing will create a hub for teaching visual arts, technology
  • science and food technology
  • The revamped teaching hub will let staff and students flow easily from one room to the other,
  • reflecting modern teaching environments
  • Potential collaborations between the College of Education and the School of Performing Arts would create a strength unique in New Zealand
  • The area will be more vibrant and modern – with revamped rooms and more staff and students
  • The project will help create a greater sense of an arts and music community on campus, and in Dunedin