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STUDENTS RATTLED

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Massey University appears to have got off lightly in last months’ big 6.5 magnitude quake.

Among 35 buildings damaged in and about the CBD, Massey’s Adelaide Road campus, which houses the College of Health Studies, suffered a cracked window and lost the cover of a fluorescent light.

Massey University communications director James Gardiner said the building was initially thought to only comply 27 per cent with building codes, falling short of minimum requirements by 6 per cent.

But after a more detailed assessment was conducted, the building was said to comply by 40 per cent. Nevertheless, it was a leased building, and Massey planned to move out of it by the end of the year, he said.
After the quake, engineers had completed a full inspection of the Wellington campus, which found damage to be “minimal”.

The university was structurally sound, he said, in large part because the buildings were on a “very solid bit of rock”.

Officials decided to close the campus on the first student day after the earthquake as a precautionary measure, he said.  “We could not be sure of the damage on the Sunday night and needed to make a full assessment when it was light.”

Massey has been criticised by some students and staff for the time it took to inform students the campus would be closed on the Monday.

MFA student Deanna Dowling said she found the school closure to be inconvenient, but had alleviated the feeling by celebrating with friends. “A group of us were really shaken up. When we found out Massey was closed we decided to eat and drink the blues away,” she said.

Among other students shaken up in the quake, Master’s student Mary Nichols said the earthquake was “freaking terrifying”.

She had packed her bags and evacuated her home on Willis Street, she said. “My building was rumbling even before it started shaking. I thought I was going to die.

“I thought this is my time. I’ve lived a good life.”

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