An earthquake-prone University of Otago building is
getting a $9.65 million upgrade and is set to become the home
of the department of applied sciences.
This comes after the university's St David 2 building, built
in 1997, was last year found to be 34% of new building
standards for earthquake strength.
Work began this week to strengthen the building, which
formerly housed the foundation studies department and is now
unoccupied. Property services director Barry MacKay said
strengthening the building to 100% of new building standards
included rebuilding the main stairwells, which would also
free up space within the building.
The refurbishment of the building for the department of
applied sciences was in the ''detailed design stage''.
''As part of the fit-out ... the existing building will be
provided with a better `identity' and improved access.''
This included building a new entry space and lobby and
extending the building's frontage.
Staff offices, meeting rooms, laboratories and various
learning, study and specialist spaces would also be
constructed within the building, with existing toilet areas
to be reconfigured, providing toilets at each floor level.
Department of applied sciences head Prof Raechel Laing said
the new building would be ''marvellous'' for the department,
whose staff were now spread among six buildings.
''That means that communication is not always as good as it
might be,'' Prof Laing said.
Having a ''purpose-built'' facility would also open up new
opportunities, she said.
The department was formed in 2011 and is the home for staff
in the disciplines of bioengineering, clothing and textile
sciences and design for technology.