Student village breaks new ground
Otago Polytechnic’s $21 million student accommodation village presently being constructed by Naylor Love features some exciting firsts.
The first residence fully-owned by Otago Polytechnic is aimed at enabling the provision of a viable number of beds for its international and New Zealand students, chief operating officer Philip Cullen says.
Year-on-year growth for students requiring accommodation, backed by demographicresearch showing 550 students were looking for hall of residence accommodation, were key drivers in committing to the project, he says.
“We started talking seriously about the project four years ago and there were several iterations before it became a reality.”
Mason and Wales Architects of Dunedin created a preliminary design before producing a final plan, with Logic Group providing project management and Naylor Love winning the construction tender.
Consulting engineers Kirk Roberts are providing crucial expertise as the project director of construction on Otago Polytechnic’s student accommodation village.
With sustainability at the top of Otago Polytechnic’s list, the 231-bed, four and five level facility will incorporate some unique features.
Only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) timber – certified timber that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests – is being used in its construction.
The main structure comprises cross-laminated timber (CLT), aimed at reducing its carbon footprint.
There is preferential use of “healthy” building materials plus a focus on energy, water and waste conservation through the use of energy efficient appliances, high insulation values, LED lighting, maximising natural light, the installation of lowflow water fixtures and recycling facilities.
The 231 beds will be configured into single dormitory rooms, studios and four-bedroom apartments.
Philip says the siting on Union Street site is absolutely perfect.
“It’s right on campus, has a lovely outlook and is adjacent to our functioning restaurant, Technique, where the dormitory students will eat. We couldn’t have found a better location.”
The residence also borders Logan Park where there are several full-sized sports fields, tennis courts and the Caledonian Athletics Sports ground.
Unipol Recreation Services is about 250 metres away, where Otago Polytechnic students enjoy free access to weights gyms, basketball and netball courts, badminton, table tennis, pool tables and snooker tables.
“Interest is high among prospective students with social media and high school visits garnering a lot of engagement and comment,” Philip says.
“This is an exciting project for Otago Polytechnic to spearhead.”
When completed, the building will be the tallest, and by volume, the largest CLT building in New Zealand.
It will occupy a footprint of 1700 square metres over two wings.
Logic Group Project Manager, Sam Cadden says the building’s construction has generated considerable attention within the industry.
“We’ve had an amazing number of site visits from all sorts of organisations and trades that we never envisaged, from structural engineers to the District Health Board property services team,” says Sam.
“We’ve exceeded the thermal building standards exponentially and everyone wants to see what we’re doing,” he says.
Naylor Love project manager Cameron Orr says the special design and construction elements of the project have made the build challenging in some areas, but extremely enjoyable for staff to work on.
It is a first for Naylor Love to be constructing a multi-level building with timber as its main structure.
It is also the first time the company has used Swiss Pearl, a fibre cement facade system, for wall cladding.
The prefabrication of the CLT panels being used for the floor and walls and the lack of concrete enables sub-trades immediate access to completed areas as there is no wait for concrete floors to cure or for form-work to be removed.
Cameron praised Otago Polytechnic’s no compromise vision for the project.
“Everyone’s interested in how impressive and innovative it is.
“It also gets a lot of comments from visitors about having a feel good factor with so much timber on show. ”
Construction started on October 17 last year and is expected to be completed by February 5 2018.