• Wed. Nov 23rd, 2022

Staff and students had been told to work from home after the building was given a seismic rating of 15 per cent of the New Building Standard.

Aug 12, 2021

The main Wellington building of the University of Otago campus in the capital has been temporarily closed due to earthquake risk.
The main building is adjacent to Wellington Regional Hospital in Newtown, but the hospital itself is not affected, the university said in a statement.
Hundreds of staff and students have been told to work and study from home and treat the situation like the Government has called for a lockdown after an independent assessment gave the building a seismic rating of 15 per cent of the New Building Standard.
The University does not consider that rating to be safe enough to have staff, students or other people in the building to work and study,” an email sent to students by the dean and head of campus Professor William Levack said.
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The Wellington campus has 450 staff and 1020 students.
Medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, pathology, physiotherapy, primary health care, psychological medicine, public health, radiation therapy and surgery and anaesthesia programmes are taught at the campus.
Those affected should leave the building as soon as practical take essential office supplies and research work with them and be prepared to work from home for at least a month.
The building would be locked down from midnight on Sunday and stay shut until the assessment had been peer-reviewed and potential remedial work had been done.
Levack added: All teaching will move online… the same way as we have done during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
In a separate statement to the media, Levack said the assessment came as a “surprise.
Our aim in the immediate future is to continue the research, teaching and studying which normally takes place in the building and to have clear answers for our people as soon as possible.
University of Otagos chief operating officer Stephen Willis acknowledged in the media statement that the move would be disruptive for staff and students, but said the health and safety of our students and staff is our first priority and is at the heart of this decision.
As a precaution, staff and students based in the adjacent Link Block have also been asked to keep away from the building. But those based in the Wellington Hospital Ward Support Block did not need to leave their building.
Staff and students would be kept informed of developments as quickly as possible.
The university owns the building, which was built in the mid-1970s.
Mathew Parr, the chief financial officer for Capital & Coast District Health Board, which operates Wellington Regional Hospital, because the organisation had been made aware of the problem only in recent hours, it had not yet been able to investigate and understand the implications.
The health board would continue to review the situation over the coming days.
While all the information it had indicated all its buildings were safe, work to assess them continued.