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An Otago Polytechnic spokeswoman said 700 stone column piles for ground stabilisation had been installed and work on laying the concrete slab began this week.
The 231-bed complex would be built using cross-laminated timber panels, which would go up early next year.
It would take about 90 days to complete the timber structure, the spokeswoman said.
The project was running on schedule and would open as the first fully Otago Polytechnic-owned hall of residence in January 2018.