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University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury suffered major damage to buildings during the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The main Science lecture block, a big Education lecture building, Chemical Engineering and an engineering lecture theatre have all been demolished. Meanwhile the Commerce building is closed while repairs are taking place. The Student Union building is still closed and no decision has been made about the future of the building. All 240 buildings owned by the university had some kind of damage. At some stage, departments have had to move out of their buildings for repairs. This has been difficult for staff and students. Moving departments will continue for some time until all the repairs are finished.

Many temporary buildings have been placed on sports fields. These are used when departments move out of their buildings for repairs.

Now the insurance company Vero has paid out $550m for repairs. The government gave the university $260m at the end of last year for a new science centre and to improve engineering facilities. While universities are expected to find their own money for improvements, the University of Canterbury was a special case because of the earthquakes. Many international students and domestic students did not return. Student numbers are now increasing.

The university plans to spend $1.1 billion over the next 10 years for new buildings and other facilities. Half of that money will come from the university while the government grant and insurance money will pay the rest.


• demolished – gone, pushed over by machines
• temporary – not permanent, for a short time only
• grant (n) – a sum of money given by the government or another organisation