MACHINES TAKE OVER: redevelopment gains planning department approval

AN ALMOST softly-softly approach to preparing for the close to $80 million redevelopment of Dubbo Base Hospital is coming to an end because of a "huge milestone" created by the NSW Department of Planning.

The largely labour-intensive demolition of old buildings on the redevelopment site will soon be replaced by the grunting of serious machinery.

Bulk excavation of the site is being scheduled following the department's formal approval of the State Significant Development (SSD), for which early works have been under way since before Christmas.

National Buildplan Group, which won the tender for the early works costing $8.2 million, was knocking down last remnants of the old nurses' quarters yesterday as Health Infrastructure advised of documents being prepared for the calling of tenders for the main works.

Health Infrastructure senior project director Bruno Zinghini announced the successful conclusion of the approval process yesterday from the office of Dubbo Base Hospital general manager Debbie Bickerton.

He called the department's nod to the redevelopment a "huge milestone".

"With the approval of the SSD, we can start bulk excavation," Mr Zinghini said.

"We actually included that as an option in the early works. So we can now execute that option and keep the early works contractor on site for longer while we finish the tendering process, so it should dovetail nicely."

Mr Zinghini said the excavation work would "get the site to the right levels for the new building" with one and two-storey components.

The state-of-the-art building will ramp up both surgical and maternity services for a region of about 200,000 people.

It will feature six operating theatres, a 15-bed extended day surgery unit, 15 short-stay beds for medical and surgical care, and maternity ward with 17 beds and eight special care nursery cots.

The redevelopment budget will also cover the refurbishment of the hospital's front entrance and renal dialysis unit that will have 14 renal chairs.

Visitors to the hospital have been watching the footprint of the planned new building emerge slowly but surely.

Gone are the linen house, boiler house and as of mid-afternoon yesterday, most of the nurses' quarters.

Scaffolding has been erected around the 32-metre-high chimney stack, expected to disappear gradually at the hands of safety-conscious workmen.

The state government is investing $72.7 million and the federal government $7.1 million in the redevelopment.

Completion of the redevelopment is expected by late 2014.

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