Hospital quake upgrade

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 03/04/2014

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Plans are progressing on Timaru Hospital's earthquake-damaged Gardens Block.

Engineers and architects have started work on upgrading the building, which was evacuated in July 2012 after it was found to be unsafe.

An engineer's report warned that the northern end of the six-storey building could suffer a catastrophic collapse in the event of a severe earthquake. The southern end of the building was also later evacuated.

The Gardens Block will be strengthened and refurbished.

South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) chief executive Nigel Trainor said the building has "good bones" as it is, but there are some at-risk areas that need to be addressed.

"With strengthening, the building will provide an economic option to demolition and construction of a new building from the ground up."

The Gardens Block will house the administration offices of the SCDHB and some of the DHB's Allied Health Services.

Builders are expected to spend 28 weeks on the project, from May 26. A range of other upgrade projects are also on the SCDHB agenda.

Among them is Kensington, the DHB's mental health centre. The building will be upgraded, predominantly within the inpatient unit.

The project has been on the SCDHB agenda for the past 17 months and will include alterations to a range of areas, including the high observation and de-escalation areas and the four-bed bedrooms. Kensington was last refurbished in 2005.

Timaru Hospital's laundry and chemical store will also undergo upgrades.

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- The Timaru Herald

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