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Ed Hillary Names New Scott Base Building

29 November 2004

Ed Hillary Names New Scott Base Building

The newest building in Antarctica was today named the Hillary Field Centre by Sir Edmund Hillary, who is currently visiting Scott Base, the home of the New Zealand Antarctic programme. The $4.7 million all-purpose warm store is the single largest construction project ever undertaken at Scott Base.

Once completed it will provide a heated, bulk stores facility and field operations support area. It will also improve Antarctica New Zealand’s ability to support large science field events and will signify the completion of Scott Base as a world class Antarctic research facility. Antarctica New Zealand CEO Lou Sanson said it was a great honour that Sir Edmund Hillary, who erected the first building at Scott Base, the Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE/IGY) hut, had agreed to have the newest building on base named after him.

“There’s a nice symmetry about the founding father of Scott Base being here to see the final stage of his base completed. Naming our biggest and best building after Sir Edmund is a fitting tribute and reflects the high regard in which this great Antarctican is held by all of us.” Lou Sanson said that once completed, the new facility would consolidate field support and stores in a single location, resulting in enhanced safety and comfort for field personnel and Scott Base staff.

“Since the base was established in 1957, these operations have been conducted from various unheated buildings which has been especially challenging for staff in the winter.” Anthony Leighs, Managing Director of Leighs Construction, whose team of nine builders have been based in Antarctica since October, said the company is honoured to be constructing the Hillary Field Centre and in doing so become the first private sector construction provider for New Zealand in the Antarctic.

“The project was a challenge because of the extreme environment, but we are very pleased with the way it has rolled out to date. The key to our success was ensuring that every piece of equipment and all tools, machinery and pre-cast construction components, were delivered to Antarctica in exactly the right order.”

“This required incredible logistical precision and planning both in New Zealand and on the ice. This meant the men could focus their attention on getting the work done as seamlessly and safely as possible.” Lou Sanson also praised the considerable effort of the Leighs Construction team who have worked so hard to get the bulk of the building constructed in time for the official opening by Sir Edmund. He also said that the men had fitted well into Scott Base.

“They are a credit to themselves, their profession and their employer”, Sanson said.

ENDS

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