Kerry Hort likens it to a giant jigsaw puzzle.
Bit by bit Goulburn Base Hospital’s $120 million redevelopment is coming together, with another step taking place this week.
Geotechnical experts are drilling 13 boreholes and five test holes, testing ground conditions and their ability to support a four-storey building and associated works. It follows geotechnical work carried out earlier this year.
The tall structure, uniting all the hospital’s departments in the one location, will be Goulburn’s tallest building once constructed.
But there’s a way to go yet. Project manager Kerry Hort anticipated a development application would be lodged to the State Government in September/October, with construction expected to start in the second half of 2018.
Meantime, consultation with staff, patients and stakeholders, such as the Goulburn Heritage Group, has been underway.
Across three sessions doctors and staff have had input into the schematic design. They drill down to how each department will look.
“It’s about getting the patient and staff flow right. The architects come with a set of drawings and start the discussion,” Ms Hort said.
“It’s been a really fantastic process and it has really engaged staff and patients...Staff have achieved things they were adamant they wanted and visited other sites that had been redeveloped to come up with the best flow.”
Likewise, patients and other interested people have thrashed out ideas across three sessions. They requested a drop-off zone, a larger waiting area, cafe and food court and separate male and female toilets, among other facilities.
“One thing they really wanted was a concierge type set-up at the front of the hospital,” Ms Hort said.
Ms Hort said this would direct people around the hospital and could be staffed by volunteers.
Another lady in a wheelchair wanted a more suitable waiting area. Many did not want a public entry that conflicted with the ambulance access.
As a result of discussions, several rooms will have a carer’s zone, equipped for overnight stays. In contrast to the existing four-bed set-up, there will be single and double-bed wards, which Ms Hort said would loan more privacy, assist infection control and help with “getting the patient mix right.”
“All the issues raised were listed and we came back with the architects (BLP) to ensure they were taken up to their satisfaction,” Ms Hort said.
Some 220 people were involved in the consultations.
The new building will be constructed on the site of Springfield House, currently used for mental health, and Lady Grose House, used for staff accommodation.
Despite their history, they are not heritage listed. However Ms Hort said Goulburn Heritage Group had toured the structures and assured them that architects would look for ways to incorporate any salvageable items in the new building. Springfield House includes art deco fittings, leadlight windows, original timber and an impressive staircase. A heritage study on the building has been completed.
The original 1887 main hospital building, designed by EC Manfred, is heritage listed and will be retained.
An art installation which “remembers the past but looks to the future” is also under consideration for the site.
Ms Hort said mental health would be relocated to an extension on the Community Health site on the corner of Goldsmith and Faithfull Streets.
She plans to hit the hustings again in September, talking to community groups about the schematic design and showing a virtual walk-through of the new hospital.
“The more engagement we have, the better. People feel very passionate about certain things and that’s the way we achieve a better project,” Ms Hort said.