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Source: University of Otago

The Sciences Divisional Office is moving home, to the Sciences III building – the office will be on the third floor of the Science III Library tower (right) with a new connection to the Science III main tower (left).
A new space for the Sciences Divisional Office is being created in the heart of the Science Precinct this year, Pro-Vice Chancellor Sciences Professor Richard Barker says.
Work on the space will start on the Science Library’s third floor about late July – after building consent has been granted – and will include breaking through a wall to the main tower, at the Dodd-Walls Centre.
Currently the four-level Science III library tower and neighbouring seven-level Science III main tower – housing the Department of Physics and Department of Mathematics & Statistics – are only linked by the ground floor foyer, so the new link will make it easier for people on both sides of the building to interact with the divisional office and each other.
Union Court
The Science III project is a priority for the University because the divisional office’s current home, the Union Court building needs future seismic and compliance work that would be cost-prohibitive, Professor Barker says.
The new divisional office space should be finished about the end of October, and after the office leaves Union Court, that building will be demolished and the site will allow an extension of the Union Lawn – as with any construction project, timings can be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.
Working together
The new Sciences Divisional Office will be open plan to maximise the use of space and provide flexibility to meet the division’s future needs – ‘quiet rooms’ will be available for privacy.
A variety of meeting rooms will cater for both small and large groups, and a new divisional board room will replace the one in Union Court.
The new office will be able to accommodate 39 people – more than the divisional office’s staff – so will also temporarily accommodate people from around the division to make best use of the space available.
The office will cost less to maintain and operate because it will be in a refurbished space with modern services (lighting, heating etc), Professor Barker says.
Design elements in the new office will embody the division’s brand identity Our People Our Place – always connected, Professor Barker says.
The design will reflect Kāi Tahu raraka mātauraka (traditional weaving knowledge) that has connections to place and whakapapa (genealogy), while also referencing using the environment (Our Place) as a natural lab for scientific endeavour.
The Science Library
To vacate the Science Library’s third floor for the new divisional office:
More study spaces are being added to the other floors to replace those lost on the third floor
Frequently used books and journals were amalgamated on the second floor
Less frequently used books and journals were moved during the April mid-semester break to Library Storage at 109 Leith Street. Those items can be retrieved on request.
The Science III building’s fire systems are being upgraded as well, Professor Barker says.

The team that started work on this $4.4 million dollar project in January has been aiming to work around teaching, learning and other sensitive times to minimise disruptions.
The installation should be completed in 2023. Work is currently ahead of schedule.
So far and until about mid-July work is focused on the main tower:
Second floor (currently)
Third floor research laboratory room 319 – Ultra Cold Atoms: Professor Niels Kjaergaard – which was having its air conditioning unit overhauled as well (completed)
Fifth-floor toilets, which were already being refurbished (completed)
Basement (mostly completed)
The rest of the academic year
Third floor, about mid-July to mid-November
Ground floor non-teaching and non-learning areas, about late September to late October. The contractors are working as closely as possible to a timetable showing when laboratory staff would appreciate quiet.
Sixth-floor plant room, about late October to mid-November
After the academic year – 29 November to 16 March
Ground floor laboratories and offices
Science Library – subject to confirmation