The main inpatient block of the new Dunedin hospital will be built on the former Cadbury factory site.

The latest geotechnical data shows that is feasible.

It had become the preferred site during the site masterplan process which was concluded late last year. At that time there was some outstanding geotechnical uncertainty which has since been resolved. 

The chair of the Southern Partnership Group, Pete Hodgson said the main inpatient block is scheduled for completion in November 2028. 

“It is likely to be an eight or nine-storey structure which will be accessed primarily off Cumberland St. It will face the smaller six-storey outpatient and day surgery building across St Andrew St, and will probably be joined to it by way of a multilevel bridge. Current thinking is that there will be a large basement level car park. 

“It is going to be a challenging building to construct, because it will be large, complex, and strong. It must not only remain standing after a large earthquake but also be fully functional.”

 Last month Health Minister David Clark announced that the outpatient and day surgery building will be fast-tracked to relieve pressure on the existing hospital. It is scheduled for completion in two stages – November 2023 and November 2024 – with the day surgery facility being fully operational in November 2023. 

Mr Hodgson said that the site masterplan allows for the retention of the historic Cadbury dairy factory, but not the street façade beyond that. 

“It now seems likely that we will successfully retain the old dairy building. Everyone wants that, and we have enough room without having to push the hospital to dizzy heights. However, in due course we anticipate we will apply for consent to demolish the remainder of the Cadbury factory, along with existing buildings on the block to the north.” 

Mr Hodgson said that the northern end of the site is where the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic activities interface with the new hospital in the form of an interprofessional learning centre. 

“We are likely to hear more about this centre as thinking matures. However, the key thing is that it signifies the three institutions are working in close concert.

"For example, all three institutions need good simulation facilities for students and staff alike. It is part of modern health care. So, it makes sense to build just one such facility for all to use, rather than lesser facilities separately.  

“The so-called ‘future’ parts of the site plan allow for both expansion and relocation.

"A good example is the Southern Blood and Cancer Service which will remain on its current site, probably until the linear accelerators used for radiotherapy come up for replacement.

"At that point it would make sense to construct facilities on the new site. In the interim, parts of the site may well be used as lay down areas for construction.”

Mr Hodgson stressed that changes may be made to the site master plan are likely as the hospital design develops. 

“There are five design stages and we have just completed the first. While the basic layout is now settled, lots of detail is yet to emerge. Nothing is cast in stone: slowly setting concrete is a better analogy.” 

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