Uni leasing space for Wellington campus

The University of Otago is leasing new spaces in central Wellington, following the closure of its earthquake-prone campus.

In mid-August almost 1500 staff and students at the Wellington campus were told to stay out of their main building, because of the earthquake risk.

A peer review has confirmed the building’s seismic rating of 15% of the new building standard.

It was likely to remain closed for three years.

Yesterday, a university spokeswoman said the University Council this week approved a lease on a central city space which would be able to accommodate more than 200 staff.

Due diligence will now be carried out on the building and planning will begin on the design and fit-out works.

The university had also signed a lease for short-term office space and a large seminar room at Massey University.

About 50 people could be accommodated in that space, which would be used until medium-term solutions were available, she said.

"Due diligence is also being carried out on a building for study, teaching, library services, and social space for students and staff close to the existing campus."

The cost of the leases would not be disclosed, as it was commercially sensitive, the spokeswoman said.

Facing mounting financial challenges, the university recently called for voluntary redundancies from staff, and has not ruled out restructuring.

The Wellington campus issue was one of the substantial unplanned costs affecting budget forecasts.

Constructed in the 1970s, the building, located next to the Wellington Regional Hospital in Newtown, is owned by the university.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

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