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The university this month called for tenders for the development of a business case to guide investment in the university’s health sciences division.
The call for tenders comes amid concern the division’s buildings are not fit for purpose and could limit growth.
Health sciences pro-vice-chancellor Peter Crampton said the university was committed to the continuation of a strong health science presence at its Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington campuses.
And while the university preferred Dunedin Hospital was rebuilt in a central city location, it would stay committed to its Dunedin presence even if it was built in another location, Prof Crampton said.
The business case would include contingencies around the hospital being built outside the central city, but they would not involve moving parts of its Dunedin presence north.
"It won’t change at all the spread of our resources nationally.
"Not even slightly.
"We would simply adapt to the new circumstances if we had to do that.
"It was hoped that the business case would help with the Dunedin Hospital rebuild by giving the division a better understanding of its infrastructure needs.
"It is expected that this will complement the proposed Dunedin Hospital rebuild process and enable both parties to identify where synergies might exist."
The university’s tender document said the division was at risk of being ‘‘operationally and growth constrained’’ by its current infrastructure.
It said the division operated in a space which was "not always fit for purpose" and did not meet modern teaching and learning needs and in buildings which were at the end of their economic life, including some that were prone to earthquake damage.
The business case would look at how a "Dunedin health precinct" could help the division better take advantage of opportunities for collaboration, including with the Southern District Health Board.
The deadline for completion of the final business case was March 2018.
Prof Crampton said the business case would support the university’s vision of a Dunedin health precinct.
"The programme business case will provide the university with a clearly articulated strategic case and a vision for the future of the Dunedin health precinct."
Part of this involved developing a preferred programme of work to realise the university’s vision.
Asked if the business case could result in major changes, Prof Crampton said: "We are not able to preempt the outcome of the planning process."