Uni landscaping late but not over budget

A worker uses a jackhammer during landscaping construction work at the University of Otago campus...
A worker uses a jackhammer during landscaping construction work at the University of Otago campus on Monday. Photo: Gregor Richardson.
Landscaping work at the University of Otago which has been plagued with delays will finish six months behind the original schedule, but not over budget, the university says.

The $7.8million overhaul of the Leith embankment and redevelopment of surrounding areas, including 15,000sqm of paving, was originally due for completion at the end of July.

University of Otago Property Services director Barry MacKay said delays had been caused by complications including replacing old water, sewage and drainage pipes for the Dunedin City Council and above-ground work hampered by weather and tasks taking longer than anticipated.

Despite the delays, the project would still cost "around" $8million, Mr MacKay said.

It is the third year construction work has been under way on campus during second semester exams.

The delay extended the estimated completion date of the project to January, making it the third delay to the project since it started in April 2015.

In June,  the university said the project was 14 weeks behind schedule.

Mr MacKay told the Otago Daily Times most of the remaining work was expected to be finished by Christmas, and final work by the end of January.

A university spokeswoman said the institution had no concerns students sitting exams would be affected by ongoing earthworks.

"No significant disruptions are anticipated.

"Work starting times have been adjusted in some areas to reflect exam times, and the landscaping is now complete in many areas."

Exam timetables confirming the location and duration of exams had been provided to the contractor,  Downer.

Some areas of the redevelopment including paving, seats and lights near the Richardson building, an outdoor area outside the St David cafe and paving between the Union St bridge to Leith Walk, would be finished "during the next month or so," the spokeswoman said.

Work on the western side of Castle St, and the area contractors were using as a base, between Castle St and Montgomery Ave,  would be finished next year.



Word on the street

The University of Otago landscaping project is nine months behind the original completion date. Margot Taylor asks students how they feel about the ongoing work.

1) Has the landscaping project affected your study? 

2) Would you be concerned if the project continued during exams? 

3) With the humanities division facing cuts to staff, do you think the $7.8million to be spent on the landscaping project is appropriate?


Charles Elton (23)
law student 

1) Only the accessibility to the lecture theatres, so not really.

2) No.

3) I think it is all in proportion, I do support cuts to humanities.


Charlotte Logan (22)
law and science student  

1) No, it is just taking longer to get to lectures.

2) No, I haven’t noticed any loud noises or disruption to study.

3) If there is a lack of interest in the humanities papers that is in proportion with the lack of funding, I think that is legitimate.


Libby Duncan (22)
law and politics student

1) Only in terms of getting to class quickly. Archway lecture theatres have been a little noisy.

2) It depends where your exams are. But having to leave early to get there is not really what you want to be thinking about before an exam.

3) Probably not. I definitely support the humanities department.


Maisie McFarlane (19) 
biochemistry student

1) I have to leave the library earlier and things like that and it can be hard to decipher where to go.

2) If where I was having my exam was close to it I would be concerned.

3) I think it was fine the way it was. The slippery tiles are still slippery.


Prue Milbank (19) 
archaeology student 

1) Yes, it takes longer to get to class.

2) Probably not because it’s not near any of my exams. I can hear it most of the time, which is quite a pain.

3)  Obviously, it does effect me as an archaeology student. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with things before. Obviously, I would rather be studying something than [getting] landscaping improvements.

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter