Multimillion-dollar Otago Uni building in Chch confirmed

An artist’s impression of the University of Otago building in Christchurch which has been given...
An artist’s impression of the University of Otago building in Christchurch which has been given approval. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
The University of Otago Council has approved full funding for a $178million building on its Christchurch campus.

After years of planning, work on a six-level building which will sit in the heart of the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct is set to begin soon.

The approval for the final $153million came shortly after resource consent for the project was approved by the Christchurch City Council and the appointment of a preferred main contractor.

The building will contain four floors of laboratories, the campus’ outpatient clinical research facilities, the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies, the department of psychological medicine, the department of pathology and biomedical science, teaching and learning facilities and an imaging suite.

Acting vice-chancellor Prof Helen Nicholson was "delighted" to announce the milestone to staff yesterday.

It would be the biggest construction project the university had undertaken and would enable growth of its health science research and education programmes on its Christchurch campus, she said.

"I’m excited for our staff and students, who will benefit from ... this new building."

The University of Otago’s Christchurch campus is a training base for medical students in their three clinical years, as well as a research-intensive campus.

It is home to more than 500 staff, including clinical staff jointly employed by the Canterbury District Health Board, and more than 1000 students.

The building is planned to be a 5-Star Green Star development and will be built on the site of the former Tillman’s furniture store at 24 Oxford Tce.

Planning for the building began in 2017.

Chief operating officer Stephen Willis said the building was one of the last major developments required to fulfil the Te Papa Hauora/Health Precinct vision.

The project was significant not only to the university, but nationally and regionally, as it would create about 545 jobs each year.

University of Otago, Christchurch dean Prof David Murdoch said the new building highlighted the university’s commitment in Christchurch and would enable better collaboration with partner organisations.

A detailed design of the building is expected by August this year, and enabling work on site is expected to begin next month.

It is expected the new building will be open in 2025.

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