University scales back plan

The University of Otago is saying little yet about changes it might make to its planned building next to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Parry St.

A report to the university council last week said the preliminary concept design was being re-evaluated after a report said the building would need to be larger and more expensive than first anticipated because constraints on the number of windows in the west wall necessitated the addition of internal atriums for lighting.

Nobody from the university was available last week to comment on what changes there might be to the concept design, the likely cost of an amended design, or whether any of the facilities originally planned for the building, including Student Health, the Unipol gymnasium, the foundation studies department, and possibly child-care facilities, research spaces and a cafe, might have to be eliminated to save money.

In a statement, property services director Barry MacKay said details of the design and budget for the project would not be released until they were approved by the university council and that had not yet happened.

However, plans made public last year for an L-shaped building of about 13,400sq m had now been replaced with a rectangular building plan of about 10,000sq m, he said.

A two-stage construction project was still being considered, he said, with the part of the building adjoining the west wall of the stadium being built first and the rest being built after the Rugby World Cup competition in October 2011.

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