Toroa College $1m budget blowout

The cost of the University of Otago's upgrade and expansion of Toroa College has blown out further - it is now almost $1 million over budget.

Papers for the university council's meeting tomorrow show that between January and the end of June, $2.354 million was spent on the Regent Rd project against a budget of $1.3 million for the period.

This meant the project - which was completed in May - was more than $1 million over budget for the year.

In total, $3.925 million was spent on the upgrade to the end of June, more than $900,000 over the $3.01 million originally budgeted.

As with papers tabled at last month's council meeting - when the work was over budget by $580,000 for the January to May period - the blowout was put down to an ''error made on the cost estimates for this project''.

In response to previous questions from Otago Daily Times, prompted by last month's council papers, property services director Barry MacKay said: ''The project was more complex than anticipated, including the amount of compliance upgrade required so the current facilities could meet new building standards.

''Together, these contributed to cost pressures that were unable to be controlled within early budget estimates.''

The project, which involves adding 20 rooms and a large central common space, comes as the university and other residential college owners had spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading facilities in recent years.

Director of accommodation services James Lindsay previously said the upgrade was ''the single biggest and best development at the college since it started 18 years ago''.

 

Heads should roll

Someone needs to held accountable for this gross overspending.