A sketch of the new eight-gabled building, retaining
original villa facades, to be built as a University of
Otago childcare centre. Image supplied.
The University of Otago plans to build a new
''state-of-the-art'' childcare centre on Castle St next year.
The plan was approved by the university's council. The new
centre will have room for 140 full-time equivalent (FTE)
children, increasing the childcare capacity at the university
by more than 50%.
Property services project manager Christian German said
construction on the project was scheduled to begin in the
middle of next year and be completed by March 2014.
The centre would be located on Castle St opposite Selwyn
College and retain the Edwardian facades of existing villas.
The need for earthquake strengthening and the condition and
arrangement of the existing buildings meant rebuilding was
the most cost-effective option, she said.
President of the University Early Childcare Association Sarah
Young said the centre would be ''state-of-the-art'' and one
of the leading facilities in Australasia.
''The architects and property services have really listened
to what we think is important for preschoolers,'' Dr Young
The centre would include 28 places for newborn to 5-year-olds
in a bilingual unit, two nurseries catering for 15 children
each and two whanau units each catering for 40 2- to
''We expect the facility will be very popular. We are
particularly excited about having the bilingual unit,'' Dr
The centre would replace one on Great King St, which caters
for about 78 children. A facility at the College of Education
Property services director Barry MacKay said the centre was
needed to meet demand and ''new compliance and licensing
The university had spent $200,000 on the design of the new
centre, but was keeping the construction budget under wraps,
because that information was ''commercially sensitive'', Mr
Once the new centre was built, the facility on Great King St
would revert to accommodation or academic use, he said.