Facilities and Campus


Columba College is located in the city of Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. Dunedin is the home of New Zealand’s oldest University, the University of Otago, and students are able to enjoy the benefits of being educated in a vibrant University city.

The College is in an attractive residential hill suburb about five minutes by car from the city centre.



Click on the map to enlarge.

School Plan July 2014



The campus covers approximately three hectares following the College's purchase of the adjacent Hill Jack property in 2002. The well-maintained and very attractive grounds are a special feature of the College, providing sunny, sheltered areas for socialising.

The mixture of a New Zealand Historic Places Trust Grade 1 listed building, Bishopscourt, the original Hill Jack homestead, and first-class modern educational buildings like the Girton and Braemar classroom blocks and the Marsh Sports Centre set in landscaped grounds makes for a wonderful learning environment. The blend of old and new is part of the College's ethos - tradition and innovation working together to provide a top quality education.

Bishopscourt Side view

Girton Classroom Block

The Girton classroom block which is the largest at the College is named after one of the early private schools for girls in Dunedin, Girton College, that merged with Columba College in 1915.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand (Rt Hon J.B. Bolger) opened Girton on the 9th October, 1996.

Humanities subjects are taught in Girton.  They are English, French, German, Chinese, Social Studies, History, Geography, Classical Studies, Drama and Religious Studies.

It is a two-storey building with eleven classrooms, four staff offices and a number of text-book and resource store-rooms.

Special features of Girton are:

  • A tiered lecture theatre that can seat 140 (called the Caroline Freeman Theatre in honour of Miss Caroline Freeman, the founding Principal of Girton College and the first woman graduate of the University of Otago). 
  • Used for drama, debating, dance and music as well as being a useful space for lectures.
  • The Frances Ross Common Room (named after the first Principal of Columba College, Miss Frances Ross, who had been previously the Principal of Girton College until 1914.

The Common Room consists of two adjoining generously-sized classrooms with a folding wooden door which enables the space to be used as one large area.  A catering facility in one of the two classrooms enhances the usefulness of this large Common Room.

During the course of the school-day, one of the two rooms is used as a Geography and Social Studies classroom, and the other for our supervised study programme.  Girls in Years 11 and 12 who are taking five subjects and who have a daily study period are supervised by one of our Study Supervisors.

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Braemar Classroom Block

The name Braemar also has links with the early history of Columba College.  Braemar House School was another very early private school for girls in Dunedin, established by the Misses Miller.  In 1914 the goodwill of the school was bought by Columba College and many of its pupils became foundation pupils of Columba.

The Braemar classroom block was opened on the 27th February, 1986 by Mrs Lygia Perry (née Duthie), Old Girl of both Braemar House School and Columba College.

There are five Science laboratories in Braemar (two general laboratories in addition to the designated Biology, Chemistry and Physics laboratories), a Digital Technology classroom and on the ground floor a generously-sized Art room, Art seminar room and Dark room.

In addition, there are staff offices, a prep room for Science, a text-book store and resources/equipment storage-rooms.

The main entry to Braemar features an attractive stained-glass window donated by the Columba Old Girls’ Association with the Braemar House School emblem (a Scottish thistle) and motto: “Je sème à tous vents” – I sow to all winds and my harvest none can measure).

Constance Hall

Constance Hall is the second oldest building at the College, after Bishopscourt, with the foundation stone laid in 1924.  It was named after Constance Faulks who died while she was still a Columba school-girl.

“The name, Constance,” said Miss Ross, “seems a most appropriate one for a Girls’ College Hall – Constantia, steadfast, immovable, resolute, firm, constant to all principles for which this Presbyterian College was founded, constant in prosperity, constant in tribulation.  Thus shall our girls as they pass through the halls of learning, become, in the Psalmist’s beautiful figure corner stones polished in the similitude of a palace.”

Constance Hall has been used continuously since 1925 as the College’s assembly hall.  All Years 7 to 13 students and their teachers gather there three times a week for morning assembly and the weekly Chapel Service.  It is also used extensively for performances, concerts, practices, meetings and junior socials as well as for our Special Services which include the Prefects’ and Senior Students’ Installation Service, the St. Columba’s Day Service and the Leavers’ Service.

Hall Block (adjacent to Constance Hall)

There are nine classrooms in the Hall Block.

On the ground floor there are two Commerce classrooms (Economics and Accounting) and two Visual Art classrooms, and also the staff-room.

All of the first floor is occupied by the Intermediate Department, the home-rooms for our four Years 7 and 8 classes and a larger general classroom for their use, the Intermediate Department office and a tutorial/resource room.

The offices for the School Counsellor and the two IT technicians are also located in the Hall Block.

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The Marsh Sports Centre

The Sports Centre was a major building development for the College. It was privately funded by the College with significant funds being donated by the Marsh family, parents, present and past, Old Girls, Friends of the College, students and various trusts.

 The Sports Centre caters for:

  • Ÿ   an international-sized Netball court
  • Ÿ   a full-sized Badminton court (or four practice courts)
  • Ÿ   an international-sized Basketball court (or three practice courts)
  • Ÿ   two Physical Education classes at a time (a motorised curtain divides the gymnasium into two spaces)
  • Ÿ   a full-sized Volleyball court (or three practice courts)

In addition, the complex includes:

  • Ÿ   a fitness room with specialised fitness equipment
  • Ÿ   staff offices
  • Ÿ   showers, toilets and two change-rooms
  • Ÿ   storage rooms for equipment
  • Ÿ   staff shower, toilet and change-rooms
  • Ÿ   two classrooms (one with a catering facility)
  • Ÿ   Careers Room

An on-site car park off Oban Street is also included in the Sports Centre complex.

The Marsh Sports Centre was officially opened by Her Excellency The Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Silvia Cartwright, on the 18th July, 2006.

The Sports Centre is used extensively by students, staff and parents outside the normal school-day.  It is open by 7.00 a.m. every school-day and available until 9.00 p.m. for team practices, fitness sessions, either group or individual.

The larger of the two Sports Centre classrooms is used for the teaching of Health and NCEA Levels 2 and 3 Physical Education.  It is also a useful space for seminars and meetings, and has a catering facility at one end.


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The Careers Office and Careers Adviser are based upstairs in the Sports Centre with the adjacent classroom used for the teaching of the senior Careers units.


The Library occupies a central position on the Bishopscourt campus.  Previously this building has housed the cooking-room and Infants’ room, as well as a much smaller library.

The Interior of the building has been renovated with the whole space opened up to provide a welcoming, attractive and generous-sized Library used by the whole school.

Books continue to be the main feature and focus of our Library.  With the student 1:1 laptop programme for Years 7 to 13 students, there is no requirement for the Library to house a large number of desktop computers.  Extra study spaces are now available for students in the Library following the removal of the desktop computers.

Sargood Block

The Sargood block now comprises the Mathematics Department with four classrooms, a text-book and equipment store-room and staff office.

Music Room

The main Music Room for Years 7 to 13 classes is located on the ground floor of Katharine Buchan House with an adjacent instrument store-room and three practice rooms.

Boarders are able to access the practice rooms at weekends, before and after school.

Recreation Room

The Recreation Room is a very large room (18.0m long x 10.3m wide) on the ground floor of Katharine Buchan House.  It is available for school use during the school-day, and for the use of boarders after school and at weekends.

With its French doors that open on to a terrace, it is a popular lunching area for day girls and boarders.  The dining-room in Bishopscourt is also available at lunch-times for both Years 7 to 13 day girls and boarders, and with both these two large indoor spaces for lunch the girls are well provided for in the colder months.

The Recreation Room is also used for drama, music, lectures, meetings and as an examination venue.

The College also owns three free-standing properties now used as classrooms

  • Former Pre-School

The former Pre-School located in a house at the top of Sargood Street is now being used by the College as a classroom space with a priority placed on providing an extra facility for Music.

  • Sargood House

Sargood House in Sargood Street has been owned by the College for several years and has had a variety of uses.

It has been extensively renovated and parts of the ground floor opened up to provide two additional classrooms and work areas for the teaching of Visual Arts Years 7 to 13.

  • Year 13 House

This property on Oban Street is currently used as the Year 13 common-room.

At the rear of the house and behind the Sargood Block, there is an excellent outdoor fitness centre generously funded by the Parents’ Association and particularly appreciated and used by Years 7 to 10 students.

Junior School and the Hill Jack Campus

The seven Junior School classrooms are located on the Hill Jack campus.

The Hill Jack property was purchased by the Board of Governors in 2002, and following extensive upgrading of the buildings and site, the College began the 2004 school year with a much increased campus and a new location for the Junior School, International Department and School Administration.

The former Plunket Rooms (now known as Nancy Blackwell House after the College’s first Dux) were bought in 2006 and are now used as a Junior School classroom.

The Junior School pupils have two adventure playgrounds on the Hill Jack campus, a hard-surface court and also enjoy the spacious grounds for recreation and play.

School Administration

School Administration is located in the former Hill Jack family homestead on the corner of Highgate and Oban Street.

On-site car parking is provided for visitors.