Seat of learning shifts to marquees and portacoms

JO GILBERT
Last updated 05:00 15/03/2011
TENT CAMPUS: University of Canterbury student Lyndon Thompson prepares for a lecture in a temporary theatre. Many of the university's courses are being taught in tents around the campus.
BARRY HARCOURT/The Press
TENT CAMPUS: University of Canterbury student Lyndon Thompson prepares for a lecture in a temporary theatre. Many of the university's courses are being taught in tents around the campus.

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For the first time since World War II, University of Canterbury students are in makeshift lecture theatres.

The university yesterday reopened after last month's quake, with part of its lecture programme being delivered in 14 tents in the arts and law car parks at the Christchurch campus.

Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr said an increase in enrolments at the end of the war pushed lectures into portacoms at the old university site in the Arts Centre.

"So we've been here before, but we'll be out of the prefabs a lot faster this time," he said.

Fifty of the university's 250 courses got under way in marquees, complete with chairs, whiteboards, lecture stands, projectors and emergency evacuation signage.

The larger tents feature sound systems and an on-screen relay of the lecturer.

The tent theatres can seat from 30 to 250 students.

A temporary cafe, InTentCity 6.3, has also been set up.

Carr said the marquees would house lectures until Easter, while contractors replaced 18-kilogram ceiling tiles in two lecture blocks.

"We are in tents for teaching, not because all the lecture theatres fell down, but because we're taking the opportunity to remove all the heavyweight plaster ceiling tiles from the central and arts lecture theatre blocks and install lighter ones," he said.

"The scaffolding is in, the work is being done and the structures are sound. It just takes time." If they fell, the new tiles would shower people with flutterboards and insulation, rather than "great slabs of plaster".

The University Oval, the institute's athletics track, and Dovedale campus car parks will also host portacoms.

Carr said the portacoms would be for Registry staff offices, as the red-stickered administration building would be closed for at least nine months, and any teaching space overflow.

The remainder of the university's courses will be rolled out over the next fortnight.

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