Dunedin’s historic courthouse to be restored

  • Amy Adams
Courts

Courts Minister Amy Adams today announced that Cabinet has agreed to the strengthening and restoration of Dunedin’s historic courthouse.

“The Dunedin courthouse is one of New Zealand’s most notable historic buildings and Cabinet’s decision reflects its significance, both as a part of the city’s rich cultural heritage and its importance to the region’s legal fraternity,” Ms Adams says.

“From the beginning, I’ve maintained that it’s been my intention, expectation and desire to see court services returned to Dunedin’s historic courthouse and this decision delivers on that commitment.”

The project includes earthquake strengthening and restoration, as well as the cost of provision the buildings to operate as modern court facilities. The project is estimated to cost more than $15 million and this will include seeing the building strengthened to between 60 and 70 per cent of the National Building Standard.

“The strengthening project is anticipated to take two years to complete and the Ministry of Justice will continue to deliver quality services from the temporary court in High St in the interim,” Ms Adams says.

Ministry of Justice will call for tenders in the first half of next year and it was hoped a main contractor would be appointed later in 2016.

Ms Adams says the costings in the business case had been comprehensively investigated and peer reviewed by a number of independent specialist engineers, and costed by quantity surveyors, before being subjected to a robust review by The Treasury.

“The investigations showed that as a category one heritage building, strengthening the court house is a complex project and requires a significant capital investment.

“I acknowledge the deep support locals have shown for the historic courthouse throughout this process.”

The facility in Stuart St was closed in 2011 after engineers found that parts of the building fell well short of the minimum 34 percent rating required under the National Building Standard. A temporary facility has been established at High St to ensure court services could continue to be delivered to the people of Dunedin and Otago in the interim.

With Cabinet’s decision, managing the restoration process now becomes an operational matter for the Ministry of Justice.