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Space at the University of Otago's Wellington and Christchurch campuses will need to expand by about 50% over the next 20 years to cope with expected growth.
That is likely to involve the university leasing, buying or building facilities near the Christchurch and Wellington hospitals, the campus master plan, released on Monday, says.
Both the northern campuses cater mainly for health science students and are based at the two hospitals.
In Christchurch, student numbers are predicted to increase by about 450 over 20 years, with an increase in staff numbers of 102.
An additional 8500sq m of teaching and research space is expected to be required.
In Wellington, student numbers might rise by 365 and staff numbers by 93, requiring an additional 9200sq m of building space.
More development was required because of the "piecemeal" way accommodation had been acquired there and the need to reconnect departments, the report said.
Even more development would be needed in Wellington if the health sciences division increased the range of courses taught there, the report said.
While Wellington catered mainly for medical and physiotherapy students now, the division was keen to see dental, oral health, pharmacy and medical laboratory science courses begun there at some time.