Dunedin’s historic courthouse is to be restored following Cabinet agreement, Courts Minister Amy Adams announced this week.
Closed back in 2011 after engineers found that parts of the building fell short of the minimum 34 per cent rating required under the National Building Standard, the $15m project will include earthquake strengthening and restoration to enable it to operate as a modern court facility.
“The Dunedin courthouse is one of New Zealand’s most notable historic buildings and Cabinet’s decision reflects its significance, both as part of the city’s rich cultural heritage and its importance to the region’s legal fraternity,” Adams said.
“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 Ministry of Justice will continue to operate out of a temporary court for the duration of the renovations; just the strengthening of the building is expected to take two years to complete. The process is now an operational matter for the Ministry of Justice which will call for tenders in the first half of next year.
“The investigations showed that as a category one heritage building, strengthening the court house is a complex project and requires a significant capital investment,” Adams said, stating that the costings in the business case had been carefully reviewed by a number of specialist engineers.
“I acknowledge the deep support locals have shown for the historic courthouse throughout this process.”