Selwyn College is encased in scaffolding in preparation for
earthquake strengthening and upgrade. Photo by Gerard
Dunedin residential hall Selwyn College is being
surrounded in scaffolding in preparation for an earthquake
strengthening and upgrade project expected to cost about $3.8
Warden Dr Neil Rodgers said the scaffolding was being put up
so work could begin as soon as the last students left
following the end of exams next month.
The work was expected to be finished by February, when
students return, and like the $12.1 million
earthquake-strengthening and extension completed at Knox
College this year, it would be a race against time, Dr
Selwyn College, which is Dunedin's oldest university college,
is a University of Otago ''affiliated'' college owned by the
Anglican Diocese of Dunedin.
The need for earthquake strengthening work on the college's
Whitehead building on Castle St became apparent after an
earthquake assessment, required by the university, carried
out late last year found it was about 37% of new building
standard, Dr Rodgers said. The Whitehead building, which was
the only building found to be earthquake-prone, housed about
50 of the college's 172 residents.
After it became apparent how extensive strengthening work
would be, it was decided to upgrade the facilities, meaning
all bedrooms would be redone, fire safety standards improved
and new electronics installed.
''We decided that we would seize the bull by the horns and so
in addition to the seismic strengthening we are also doing a
complete upgrade of the building.''
The height of the ceiling pitch also meant it was possible to
put in an additional 10 dorm-style rooms, increasing the
college's capacity from 172 to 182.
''We have also spent a little bit more than we needed on
outfit . . . because we wanted to keep a college look, rather
than get a motel look.''
The work would be funded by a loan from the Otago University,
a commercial loan and by savings.
The fact the college ran a ''very tight ship'' meant it was
still expecting to run small surpluses over the next few
years, even when accounting for loan repayments. It would not
be forced to cut jobs, as was the case at Knox.
Once the earthquake assessment was completed, there was never
a question of whether work would be done on the building.
''The only question was timing.''
Arrow International had been chosen as the project manager
for the works, due to its success in completing strengthening
work at Knox in a similarly short time frame.
It would finish putting up scaffolding by the start of exams.
''The scaffolding looks quite impressive. If you look at the
height of the scaffolding above the roof, it looks like they
are building the Crystal Palace, but what they are going to
do is put a cover or a tent on top of it, because the roof
needs to be replaced.''