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Two Buildings Coming Down at Waikato Hospital

Media Release

Date: 24 January 2013


Another project in the $500 million Waikato DHB rebuilding programme involves a major demolition job taking down two buildings on the Waiora Waikato Hospital campus in Hamilton.

Demolition of the seven-floor Smith Building and an adjacent two-storey building, originally wards 4 and 5, starts next week at a cost of $2 million. A blessing will take place in the Smith Building at 7.30am tomorrow (Friday 25 January).
Smith is a long, narrow building, which has a lift shaft at the end butting up to the Meade Clinical Centre. That needs to go to complete stages two and three of the centre.

Both buildings needed substantial seismic upgrades because of new building code requirements.
Wards 4 and 5, known initially as the Douglas and Rothwell wards, opened in 1927 and accommodated surgical patients.

Smith Building was completed in June 1964 and named after the late George Smith of Huntly who was chairman of the Waikato Hospital Board from 1953 to 1959 and a member from December 1927. During planning and building, staff referred to as the north-south block.

The 196-bed block was the first major step towards reorganising the hospital’s scattered wards. It helped relieve chronic overcrowding issues and allowed the distribution of patients in a less ad hoc fashion.

Initially the Smith Building housed most of the hospital’s surgical, orthopaedic and paediatric surgical patients. The building had one ward on each level but all were converted to medical wards after surgical patients were relocated to the new Menzies Block in 1974. Smith 5 and 6 were initially paediatric wards and then medical wards from 1984.

Hospital historians claim it resulted in only moderate improvements in the co-ordination of the hospital’s wards.

In recent times it has had Echocardiology, Endoscopy and Medical Day Care on level 1 and Wards 24-26 on levels 4-6.

Demolition starts next week and will be completed by June.

Chief operating officer Jan Adams said she was amazed at how patients, visitors and staff put up with the ongoing disruption at the Waiora Waikato Hospital campus.

“Smith Building has been the medical block for 48 years and holds many memories for our staff, patients and their families.

“The journey to this point has involved huge amounts of work for a small group of people and I take this opportunity to note my thanks and sincere appreciation for their hard work, focus and commitment to delivering this project on budget and on time. “

She heaped praise on three in particular – project managers Ros Morell and Kevin Bardsley and Graham Dudfield from Property and Infrastructure and to the charge nurse managers.

“Tomorrow marks the end of an era of Smith Building as a place of care. Thank you all for the part you played, whether small or large, in helping us get to this point. Like many of you, I'm looking forward to a slightly less chaotic campus over the next 12 months with the openings of the new Older Persons and Rehabilitation Building and stages two and three of the Meade Clinical Centre,” said Mrs Adams.

Read more about the history and a thanks to staff from Jan Adams.


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