Chipping off hospital block

Wards one to five at Taranaki Base Hospital are coming down.
Wards one to five at Taranaki Base Hospital are coming down.

The old wards one to five at Taranaki Base Hospital are coming down.

Demolition has begun on the Stainton Block as part of the next phase of Project Maunga, the hospital's $80 million redevelopment project.

The demolition crew was using a protective curtain which it hung from a crane between the new building and the old one, project manager Taranaki Base Hospital redevelopment Steve Berendsen said.

The protective curtain is made up of conveyor belting connected together.

The head on the demolition machine is completely manoeuvrable and the driver just sits there and "nibbles away" at the building, Mr Berendsen said.

"He pulls at the building and makes sure it all falls in the direction he wants it to go. There nothing crude about it. It's not a wrecking ball just swinging away. It's a very controlled process."

As the demolition neared the remaining area of the hospital, some areas immediately adjacent would be vacated for a brief period, he said.

The work is expected to be finished by early November.

Once the building is demolished, a new front entrance will be built.

It will be in the area of the demolition zone, but closer to the existing building just to the side of the existing main entry.

"And on every floor there will be a link that goes across from the current lift foyer through to the new lift foyer."

A portion of the area occupied by the old wards is going to be converted into a mobility garden.

"This is an outdoor garden where we can take some of our rehabilitating patients and get them walking in an outdoor setting and becoming confident. And it will also be shared with the public if they need a little respite from being with a patient."

Another area will be restored to a car park for doctors and on-call staff.

The remaining space will be landscaped, Mr Berendsen said.

"It will be an area where future expansion can occur if it is required."

The work should be finished in April next year.

The accessibility of the new hospital will be much improved when the project is completed, he said.

Patients and staff started moving into the new building in the beginning of August.

Comments about the new building have all been positive, he said.

"It's bright, spacious, very comfortable. Staff and patients are thrilled."

Taranaki Daily News