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Step into a classroom, a lab, the library. Admire the historic Clocktower Building. Live in modern clean residential halls. Hold a video conference. Receive a letter. Park a car. Stroll the grounds. Turn on a light. Flush a toilet.

Each and every day staff, students and the general public benefit directly and indirectly from the dedicated efforts of Property Services Division employees. We're the physical foundation of the teaching, research and learning that takes place at the University, and we're proud of the important role we play.

Billion-Dollar Assets

The Division is responsible for buildings with a replacement cost of NZ$2.5 billion, and more than 22,000 hectares of land. With over 3,500 University Staff and 20,000 students, it's a bit like helping to run a small town.

Campus Transformation

Over the past few years, the Property Services Division has overseen the continuing and remarkable transformation of the Dunedin campus, the construction of award-winning buildings, the expansion of state-of-the-art teaching, research and accommodation facilities, and a number of strategic land and building purchases.

Notable projects completed in recent years include:

  • The NZ$46 million University Plaza One Building - housing state of the art recreation facilities for Unipol, new teaching and office accommodation for Foundation Studies and the popular Plaza Café.
  • The NZ$6 million University Childcare Centre, Te Pa, which included the retention and upgrade of 5 historic villa frontages, maintaining the Castle Street heritage streetscape.
  • The purchase and opening of the 15th University residential college - Te Rangi Hiroa, complete with en-suite bathrooms, cinema and tutorial space.
  • The Marsh Study Centre - a facility providing a community based study centre in the heart of the student residential area comprising a high quality 225 seat study facility, social space and café.

Property Services is now working on the implementation and delivery of the University's Priority Development Plan (PDP) - a capital works programme of redevelopment and expansion of the University's campuses and facilities with an approximate total value of NZ$650 million.

Notable developments from the PDP that are already being worked on by the division include:

  • The redevelopment of the Dental School including a new clinical building and the refurbishment of the historic Walsh Building.
  • A full upgrade of the Science One building with the provision of Otago's first 'Super Labs'.
  • A major upgrade of Health Sciences research facilities.
  • Landscape improvements to the central Dunedin campus.
  • Improvements to access and safety in the Otago School of Business Building, including a new entrance directly into the atrium, removal of the existing external stairs, new internal stairs providing access from the atrium and replacement of the atrium roof.
  • The construction of teaching, learning and research space at the Portobello aquarium as a medium term replacement for space lost due to the closure of an earthquake-prone building at that facility.

A new building is also being constructed to house the world renowned Dunedin Study.

At the same time we will be continuing with seismic strengthening work, improvements to fire safety and the continuing maintenance and upkeep of the world class facilities here at Otago.

Priority Development Plan

The University of Otago Council has approved a Priority Development Plan (PDP) which details building developments with an approximate value of NZ$650 million that will further cement the University as a leading force in teaching, learning and research within New Zealand.

The plan includes the following projects (in order of priority):

  • The six projects listed above (Dental, Science 1, Health Sciences research, School of Business, Landscaping, and Portobello).
  • A new Arts Building, replacing the older multi-storey concrete building in Albany Street. The aim is to develop a more coordinated and functional Humanities Precinct. Related to this is the replacement of the Property Services building in Albany Street to free the site for the Humanities Precinct.
  • A new Biomedical Research building, concentrating research that is currently spread throughout the Dunedin campus into the new development, south of the Museum Reserve where medical school facilities are mostly concentrated.
  • A new Marine Science teaching facility and aquarium, preferably in the harbour basin area.
  • A new Music facility, including a new Centre of Performing Arts, to be developed in the East Precinct near the existing music studio in Albany Street East.
  • New facilities and additional space for the Department of Botany.
  • A new research facility in the Christchurch Health Precinct for the University of Otago Christchurch. The timing of this project is dependent on the development timeline of that precinct.
  • The redevelopment of the former Unipol Building in Anzac Avenue.
  • A new student and academic services hub to be built in the area of the Union Lawn, in the heart of the Dunedin campus. The plan is to concentrate services and provide an opportunity for student-related retail development and social spaces in this important area.

A number of health and safety projects are also included on the Plan. These have a high priority and include the following:

  • The completion of the refurbishment of the University of Otago Wellington facilities and some further seismic strengthening.
  • A continuation of the seismic strengthening work and improvements to fire safety resulting from building seismic assessments completed over the last two years.

The Plan also includes reference to a number of major maintenance projects, such as refurbishment of buildings in the historic precinct, including the Clocktower.

The intention of the Priority Development Plan is to show the University community, the public, and contractors, what we will be looking at and focussing on, over the medium term when it comes to our built environments.

The outcome of the plan will improve what is already a first-class experience for students, teachers and researchers and allows the campus to be enjoyed by the communities in which the University operates.

Many of the projects were signalled in the Campus Master Plan released in 2010. The CMP provides a strategic and guiding vision of how the University should be developed in the coming decades across all its campuses and the PDP follows the guiding principles in that strategic document.

University Council have agreed to the priority development plan and projects within it "in principle". However, the plan is a living document and other projects may yet be added, or removed, as situations and needs change.

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