University looks to upgrade science facility

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014

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Victoria University is planning to spend up to $100 million on a School of Biological Sciences at its Kelburn campus.

The university has applied for resource consent for the new block to replace the school's substandard current home in the Kirk Building.

The proposed new school has been designed by architects Warren and Mahoney and the proposed location would be in front of the Alan MacDiarmid building at the top of Kelburn Pde.

The 12,000-square-metre four-storey building would provide teaching, research, laboratories and academic administration space.

Campus Services director Jenny Bentley said a financial feasibility study was being run alongside the resource consent process. It would need to be proven to be value for money before any final decision to proceed.

If it did go ahead, tenders were expected to be called before the middle of the year and approval would be sought from the Victoria University Council in June.

Construction was likely to start in late 2014 and should be completed by late 2017.

Once built, the university planned to start work on upgrading the nearby Kirk Building from early 2018 to early 2020.

The university told Wellington City Council that biological sciences was a key strategic research and teaching area and student numbers in this department were growing.

However, the Kirk Building, where the school is now based, was not fit for the purpose. It failed to meet the university's seismic rating or health and safety standards.

"The current condition of the building's laboratories and physical environment is considered to be a deterrent to staff recruitment and student retention," the university said.

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- The Dominion Post

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