Ōtautahi – Construction has begun on new inpatient wards at Christchurch hospital, a key milestone for the Waipapa building project.
“Handing the site over to contractors to begin building work is an exciting stage for any infrastructure project,” Canterbury executive director of infrastructure Dr Rob Ojala says.
“The new tower signals a firm commitment to the provision of modern, fit-for-purpose inpatient wards for the region. It will provide 160 beds in total, with 64 available as soon as it opens. Fit-out of the remaining floors of shelled space, with a capacity of 96 beds, will be the next stage of the development.”
The tower is a continuation of the campus redevelopment works which saw the completion of the Waipapa acute services building, comprising two towers, in 2020.
The budget for this stage of the development is $184 million, which includes almost $30 million for enabling works that have been underway since 2022.
At 62,000 square metres in total, the Waipapa acute building is currently the South Island’s largest hospital building and the additional tower will add a further 16,000 square metres.
The construction of the six storeys on the eastern end of the existing Waipapa building will match the footprint, façade, and internal design of the current towers.
Seismic strengthening and resilience to withstand earthquakes and provide health services immediately post-disaster is an integral part of the design, along with features such as increased airflow and the ability to separate wards if needed for a future pandemic.
“Ensuring new hospital buildings are fit-for-purpose and future-proofed is always an essential part of the design process,” Dr Ojala says.
It is anticipated the third tower will be completed later in 2025.
Work is also progressing well on the redevelopment of the Parkside building wards on the Christchurch hospital campus.
These wards are some of the few remaining in the country to have six beds. Each of the four wards being refurbished are being reconfigured to have four multi-bed rooms, with a separate toilet and shower.