Lincoln University has opened the first of two new science buildings, marking a significant milestone along a journey that began more than 10 years ago, following the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes.
The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr Megan Woods performed the formalities, cutting the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the building that will be home to over 50 staff and postgraduate students from Lincoln University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences, responsible for teaching and research in the animal sciences.
During the opening ceremony, Lincoln also acknowledged its elevated profile as a world-ranked land-based university, underpinned by its substantial growth in domestic student numbers and its expanding influence within New Zealand’s increasingly important food and fibre sector.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie said the new science facility will strengthen Lincoln’s commitment to help drive New Zealand’s transition to a more productive, low-emissions economy.
“Lincoln University has always been a chief driver of innovation in agriculture, particularly in the food and fibre sectors, and our new facilities will position us to take an even more prominent role in developing solutions for the most pressing challenges facing the land-based industries.
“Our university has been producing primary sector graduates for more than 140 years, and we remain dedicated to attracting and inspiring future generations of tauira; equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to grow a better future.
“It’s appropriate and timely that we deliver a new cutting-edge science facility as a base where our people, including our world-leading researchers, can continue their critical contribution to shaping more prosperous and sustainable communities.”
Among the new building’s state-of-the-art facilities is a purpose-built gene marker laboratory where Professor Jon Hickford leads a team specialising in the molecular genetics of ruminants, working to identify genetically superior animals.
Professor Hickford’s team is internationally recognised, and recently won the Science and Research Award at the 2021 Federated Farmers Primary Industries Awards.
Taking just 12 months to complete, the new agricultural sciences building began its construction phase in late June 2020 with a sod-turning ceremony conducted shortly after the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted.
The new building, constructed by Leighs Construction and designed by Sheppard and Rout, cuts a striking figure on the south-eastern corner of the Lincoln campus, with its brick-red, sun-louvred exterior and low-slung profile.
It incorporates a mix of laboratories, offices, open plan workspaces, meeting and collaboration zones, all complemented by a comfortable and well-appointed staff kitchen and social area adjoined by an exterior private courtyard.
In line with the University’s sustainable infrastructure goals, the building is built to Level 4 green star standard and features wool carpets and wool acoustic wall insulation, a cement substitute mix floor slab, as well as thermally-insulated exterior cladding.
The roof-mounted solar array adds a further 60kWh to the University’s existing commercial-scale solar generating capacity, which now totals more than 522,000 kWh – enough to power 72.5 houses for a year.
Lincoln University remains the only New Zealand university to achieve a ranking on the UI Green Metric World University Rankings; currently ranked 51 out of 912 universities.
The new science facilities are part of a wider campus development programme for Lincoln University that has already seen the launch of a vibrant and bustling new student hub and an expansive new outdoor events space featuring native plantings and a cultural heritage-inspired paved pathway.
Further campus projects including an ambitious and extensive decarbonisation programme which supports the University’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to cease the combustion of coal by 2024, the restoration of Ivey West and Memorial Hall and an overarching visionary landscaping masterplan, are in various stages of development.