Ser­vices sooner with split build

Otago Daily Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID LOUGHREY

THE Gov­ern­ment has fast­tracked part of the new Dunedin Hos­pi­tal build, as de­tails of the $1.4 bil­lion pro­ject emerge.

Work is ex­pected to be­gin in 2020 on the smaller out­pa­tient and day surgery build­ing, which looks likely to be built by St An­drew St where the Wil­son Park­ing build­ing is lo­cated.

That build­ing is ex­pected to be joined by a bridge to a larger in­pa­tient build­ing — which has no set fin­ish date — on the for­mer Cad­bury site.

The Min­istry of Health said yesterday a prop­erty had been bought ‘‘in the mid­dle of the Wil­son’s block’’, and ne­go­ti­a­tions were pro­gress­ing on an­other prop­erty.

Health Minister David Clark an­nounced the hos­pi­tal would be built in two stages with the out­pa­tient and day surgery build­ing due to be fin­ished more than three years ear­lier than an­tic­i­pated.

The smaller build­ing would be opened in two stages, in Novem­ber 2023 and Novem­ber 2024.

Day surgery could be­gin there in Novem­ber 2023. But the larger in­pa­tient build­ing would be fin­ished five or six years af­ter that, mean­ing the end of the build would be 2028 or 2029, rather than the mid2026 date planned.

Dr Clark said the de­ci­sion came af­ter ‘‘some months of think­ing and plan­ning’’, and was con­di­tional on Cab­i­net and bud­getary pro­cesses be­ing se­cured.

‘‘The un­der­ly­ing is­sue is that the ex­ist­ing Dunedin Hos­pi­tal will not last the dis­tance in its cur­rent state.

‘‘Had we done noth­ing, the ex­ist­ing hos­pi­tal would have pro­gres­sively strug­gled to de­liver ad­e­quate ser­vices, es­pe­cially in the emer­gency depart­ment and in sur­gi­cal ser­vices.

South­ern Part­ner­ship Group chair­man Pete Hodgson said by bring­ing for­ward the day surgery and out­pa­tient build­ing, the build­ing work could be spread out, help­ing rem­edy an ex­pected short­age of work­ers.

‘‘This smaller of the two main build­ings will need about 350 work­ers on site at peak, which is a very man­age­able prospect.’’

It was about the size of the com­bined work­force on Univer­sity of Otago con­struc­tion projects at present.

The work could be part of a train­ing pro­gramme for ap­pren­tices, who would later be able to work as trades­men and women on the larger in­pa­tients build­ing.

Mr Hodgson said the two build­ings would be ten­dered as sep­a­rate con­tracts.

‘‘Even if the larger build­ing con­tract in­volves an off­shore player, more work will be avail­able to Otago and New Zealand firms by split­ting the work, in­clud­ing the sub­con­tracts.’’

Ten­ders would go out next year for a main ar­chi­tect and en­gi­neer­ing firm for both build­ings.

The smaller build­ing was ex­pected to abut St An­drew St, as the build­ing was ‘‘very likely to be bridged’’ to the larger in­pa­tient build­ing on the Cad­bury block.

Mr Hodgson said shift­ing an elec­tric­ity sub­sta­tion on the north­ern block was not ex­pected to be an is­sue, as the new build­ing was ex­pected to be sit­u­ated to the south of the block.

He was con­fi­dent the work­force of 350 peo­ple would be avail­able for the work that was

be­ing fast­tracked.

Mr Hodgson said there would be a longer pe­riod of dis­rup­tion, es­pe­cially dur­ing con­struc­tion of the larger build­ing.

How­ever, the dis­rup­tions would be man­aged ‘‘as well as any­one can man­age them’’.

Min­istry of Health per­for­mance and in­fra­struc­ture chief ad­viser John Hazel­dine said the min­istry had en­gaged a her­itage con­sul­tant, town plan­ner, and in­de­pen­dent qual­ity as­sur­ance ser­vices.

Its pro­ject team was pro­gress­ing site ac­qui­si­tion for the fi­nal land blocks for the new hos­pi­tal.

The pro­ject team was also pro­gress­ing de­mo­li­tion of two derelict build­ings on the Cad­bury car park site.

It was ex­pected those build­ings would be re­moved in Jan­uary.

Na­tional health spokesman Michael Wood­house said yesterday’s an­nounce­ment was pos­i­tive progress, but ques­tioned what the cost im­pli­ca­tions for the pro­ject were.

PHOTO: LINDA ROBERT­SON, GRAPHIC: SUP­PLIED

Let’s get started . . . Health Minister David Clark at the pro­posed site of Dunedin’s new hos­pi­tal. In­set: An ar­chi­tect’s ren­der­ing of a day surgery/out­pa­tients build­ing. This is a con­cept im­age. The de­sign of the build­ing is yet to be­gin.

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