Work on new student building begins
Christchurch’s new Ngaio Marsh Theatre is a step closer as construction starts on a $28 million students’ association building.
A groundbreaking ceremony yesterday marked the realisation of a six-year dream for the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) and a new chapter in its 120-year history.
‘‘We’re here for students and we’ve always been about student success, support and belonging,’’ UCSA president James Addington said.
‘‘The new UCSA building will give future generations of students the opportunities and experiences that past students have enjoyed.
‘‘It will be a place where long-held traditions continue and life-long memories are made.’’
The old UCSA building was severely damaged by the February 2011 earthquake and was demolished last year.
The new two-storey, 4000-square metre base will feature meeting and event spaces, university mainstays The Foundry and Bentley’s, an outdoor amphitheatre facing the Avon River, and the rebuilt Ngaio Marsh Theatre, when it opens in 2019.
The theatre will be a flexible space with retractable seating for 300 and standing room for 1000.
Addington said performances and concerts would be open to the public. The association also aimed to make the theatre available for public use during university breaks.
Chancellor Dr John Wood said the building would be a ‘‘vibrant hub’’ for student life.
The university has committed land and about $14m to the project, but the UCSA still needs to raise $5m on top of its insurance payout to maintain majority ownership of the building.
More than 200 individuals and corporate donors have already sponsored the association’s efforts.
The building has been named Haereroa, meaning longest stream or longest wanderer.