University of Waikato bids farewell to historic B Block with planned demolition

Demolition begins this week on the oldest building at the Hamilton campus.

24 Apr 2024

The University of Waikato is bidding farewell to one of its oldest buildings this week as demolition begins on B Block and its adjacent annex, located on its Hamilton campus. 

B Block

The building which sits off Hillcrest Road, at the University’s Gate 5 entrance, and across from The Pā has been sitting vacant for 18 months due to structural weaknesses identified in routine seismic assessments. 

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, says that the University has been exploring remediation for B Block and has now exhausted all viable options. 

“Despite extensive exploration of remediation measures for B Block, or alternative uses for the building, it has become apparent that any attempts to address the structural issues or renovate the building would be both unfeasible and economically unsustainable,” says Professor Quigley. 

Waikato Demolition has been engaged to carry out the process starting from Monday 22 April, and it is expected up to 90 percent of the building will be recycled. Hoardings will go up around the building to secure the site this week before physical works start. 

“The demolition process will be conducted slowly and methodically to ensure the safety of campus users and efficient management of building materials. Our contractors will be working to ensure as minimal disruption as possible both on campus and in the surrounding area of Hillcrest Road. 

“We have already begun the process to reuse furniture and other items in the building, and our contractors will also recycle all other possible materials to ensure we minimise the impact to landfill as much as possible,” says Professor Quigley. 

The University has obtained consent from Hamilton City Council to demolish the building and while B Block holds a heritage designation under the Council’s Plan Change 9, this designation does not prevent its demolition. In this case, demolition is the only safe and viable option, says Professor Quigley. 

While carparking around B Block will be restricted, the demolition is expected to cause minimal disruption on campus although there will be increased traffic, including heavy vehicles to and from the site over the duration of the project that is expected to take at least seven months. 

“While B Block is one of our original buildings and the decision to demolish it has not been made lightly, its proximity to Hillcrest Road, The Pā and Te Manawa – the Student Centre makes it a prime site on the University campus for future development,” says Professor Quigley. 

Included in future possibilities is the potential for the site to be the new location for the Waikato Medical School, says Professor Quigley. 



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