The University of Otago has settled on an option for
replacing its ageing dental school, with the ''four-year''
construction project set to be the largest in the
Chief operating officer John Patrick said the university's
dental school project working party, of which he is the
chairman, yesterday agreed on an option to renovate and add
to the existing dental school.
After a ''range of options'' were explored over the past few
years, the choice eventually came down building a
''completely new'' dental school on a separate site and
renovating the old building.
The working party also chose a lead architect for the project
yesterday, but was unwilling to release a name as a contract
was yet to be signed, Mr Patrick said at yesterday's
university council meeting.
The developments were a ''major milestone'' for a project,
which Mr Patrick previously said would be the largest
building project in the university's history.
''We now look forward to moving on and getting this project
The budget for the project had previously been put at
somewhere between $50 million and $100 million and the
university has signalled it would be high up its massive
capital works programme, which is expected to cost more than
Going with the option of renovating the existing building
came with ''significant challenges'', Mr Patrick said
''One of the challenges is the decant, because this work will
have to be done while this dental school still operates.''
However, the architects had assured the university this was
''They are all very confident that they can do the work
without disturbing too much the operation.''
The university council approved extra funding, of an unknown
amount, for the project during the closed section of
yesterday's council meeting.
In a statement provided to Otago Daily Times after the
meeting, Mr Patrick said it was unknown when construction
would start on the project, but the work was expected to take
four years to complete.
The funding approved yesterday would pay for a range of work
including a concept design report, a detailed estimate to
prepare for the next funding application and the development
of staging and decanting strategies.
Other steps that had to happen before construction began
included a detailed cost estimate, project budget approval
and the appointment of contractors.