Multimillion-dollar refurbishment for Columba

Columba College.
Columba College.
Columba College has announced a multimillion-dollar upgrade of its historic school, which will include turning the junior campus into a state-of-the-art facility, redeveloping the Bishopscourt building, and constructing new boarding facilities.

Board of governors president Michael Crosbie said the project would be completed in three stages.

In the first stage, new boarding facilities would be constructed and developed on the Hill Jack campus, as soon as the necessary consents were in place.

‘‘The facilities will include apartment-style living for our senior girls and provide a modern boarding solution, delivering independence, support and a sense of home.''

It was hoped construction would begin as early as term 3 (July-September) this year.

In the second stage, the existing junior school would be developed into a state-of-the-art, modern teaching facility, reflecting best practice demands, which included light, airy, well-insulated teaching spaces with variable configurations.

The third stage would begin on completion of stages 1 and 2, and involved redeveloping the historic Bishopscourt building into a learning and teaching facility, he said.

‘‘The aim is to see this grand old building become the hub of Columba College,'' Mr Crosbie said.

It was hoped all three stages would be completed within the next four to five years.

He said the board would release images of the proposed developments once the school's neighbours had been given a chance to see them.

It was the first time in many decades the board had embarked on a major upgrade and redevelopment of the wider Columba College campus, Mr Crosbie said.

The initiative was sparked by reports received by the college last year, which showed strengthening work would need to be carried out at Bishopscourt.

‘‘The building is very much a part of the campus and particularly significant given its heritage status.‘‘Instead of treating that issue in isolation, the board of governors examined the college's immediate, intermediate and long-term building needs.

‘‘The result of the process was to conclude that to re-strengthen and refurbish Bishopscourt for its present use was not an option.''

Instead, the board concluded a project was needed to reinvigorate the entire campus and redevelop it into a facility that would equip Columba College pupils and staff for the future, he said.

‘‘As a result of 18 months of work, the college is now looking to a programmed upgrade of a number of areas of the school, including boarding facilities, the junior school, classrooms and auditorium facilities.''

The college was grateful for the support of the Dunedin City Council and Heritage New Zealand through the planning stages.

‘‘The project is an investment in the culture of excellence at the school, and an extremely exciting one that will mean that Columba College is well positioned for the next 100 years,'' Mr Crosbie said.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

 

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