University work hailed as positive

Two university development projects with budgets totalling $182 million will be ''very positive'' for the construction industry, a Dunedin contractor says.

The projects are an ''upgrade and extension'' of the School of Dentistry and a new laboratory for the chemistry (science 1) building.

The project budgets were revealed for the first time in a university capital development committee agenda this week.

Logic Group project director Sam Cadden, who has experience with university contracts, said the ''large injection of those two projects would be very positive for the industry''.

''These two combined projects are probably equal to the cost of the stadium,'' he said.

''That's the league of projects in regards to financial value.''

Forsyth Barr Stadium was initially budgeted to cost $188million, and the total price tag was eventually assessed to have risen to $224.4 million.

Mr Cadden said the development was ''by far some of the largest projects [the university has] ever undertaken''.

He hoped that the university would ''keep as many local contractors as possible [for the projects], because the skill base is out there''.

''I know that that's university policy.''

It was ''a very positive thing'' that the dental school development was expected to take place over several years, and finish in 2019.

''It keeps local tradesmen employed for longer periods, and allows local companies to forecast for longer,'' he said.

Full funding for both projects was approved by the university council in March, and construction is due to begin later this year.

carla.green@odt.co.nz

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