Knox College has funding for earthquake-strengthening.
Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The future of Knox College has been secured after the
commission which runs the Dunedin student residential hall
announced yesterday it had sourced loans to fund $11.3 million
worth of earthquake-strengthening and extension work.
This comes after Dr John Kernohan, appointed by the
Presbyterian Church as chairman of a new commission to govern
the college earlier this year, said in September Knox could
close if earthquake-strengthening was not carried out on the
The 103-year-old main building was rated at less than 20% of
new building standard (NBS) for earthquake strength. Any
building rated less than 34% of NBS is classified
Dr Kernohan said yesterday he only became confident of
sourcing the funds "a couple of weeks ago" when the cost of
the building work started to become apparent.
"If it had turned out to be a couple of million more, then
that might have been outside our reach," he said.
The strengthening work, set to begin in the next two weeks,
was expected to cost about $8 million. Increasing the
capacity of Knox College and Salmond College, which is also
owned by the Presbyterian Church, was expected to cost about
$3.2 million. A total of 63 extra beds would be added to the
colleges, with an extra 24 at Salmond and 39 at Knox.
The goal was to have all buildings over 75% of NBS by the
start of next year, Dr Kernohan said.
Extending the number of rooms and reducing the number of
staff by a total of 4.5 full-time equivalent positions would
help ensure the loans could be repaid. The loans came from
Otago University, church sources and the BNZ.
Dr Kernohan said the commission regretted the job losses, but
was pleased the future of Knox had been secured.
"I am really happy ... the work will be done this summer, so
there is no threat at all that we will have to close part or
all of Knox College next year, or indeed at any time in the
Dr Kernohan said Project manager Arrow International would
use a variety of contractors to do the work, which was
expected to be completed over the summer holidays.
Fire protection work also had to be carried out to meet
building consent conditions.
"We will have to spend at least as much on upgrading the fire
protection in the main building as we actually spend on the
basic earthquake-strengthening," Dr Kernohan said.
Otago University chief operating officer John Patrick said
the university was pleased strengthening work was being
carried out, but declined to comment on the amount it loaned
to Knox for the work.