ABOUT 3000 bricks will be salvaged from the ruins of the old nurses' quarters at Dubbo Base Hospital and auctioned off to buy artwork.
It will be a lasting gift for staff and patients of the yet-to-be-built focal point of the hospital's $79.8 million stage one and two redevelopment.
Construction of the state-of-the-art building, with one-storey and two-storey components, is predicted to get under way mid-year when early works wind up.
National Buildplan Group won the $8.2 million tender for the early works that have included the demolition of old buildings on the redevelopment site, on the eastern side of the hospital campus.
Health Infrastructure announced this week the State Significant Development (SSD) had been approved by the NSW Department of Planning and took the opportunity to outline early works under way or scheduled.
The demolition to date of the hospital's linen and boiler houses, and the nurses' quarters, represent a high-profile but small portion of the early works.
Health Infrastructure's senior project director Bruno Zinghini told of "a lot of progress to date".
Fences and trenches have been a telltale sign of activity on and underground.
On the list of early works is the staggered expansion and refurbishment of the public car park, the upgrading of high-voltage electrical conduits for the hospital campus, the diversion of services such as sewerage, water and power from the redevelopment site, and the purchase and establishment on it of a high-voltage electrical transformer.
National Buildplan Group will also increase the size of an existing storm water detention basin with materials excavated from the redevelopment site, and future-proof the hospital in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
"We'll install enough conduits in the ground so in the future the hospital can just come and hook up to the new ICT centre without having to dig things up again," Mr Zinghini said.
The senior project director also confirmed contaminants, including asbestos in the nurses' quarters, had been removed and clearance certificates were being finalised.
He indicated the demolition program may run into next month with the removal of the 32-metre-high and brick-filled chimney stack expected to take a few weeks.
"It's not going to be dramatic," Mr Zinghini said.
"It will be pulled down, probably by hand. Because of the height and safety issues it will be a slow demolition really."
As the chimney stack gradually disappears, the final touches will be made to the first phase of the public car park revamp.
The anticipated opening of the new northern section of the car park in March may serve as an opportunity for the hosting of a barbecue and silent auctioning of the bricks.
"We'll sift through and collect the bricks, clean and stack them," Mr Zinghini said.
Mr Zinghini has praised the contractor and the hospital for working together effectively to manage disruption resulting from the early works.
The department's approval of the SSD will result in the bulk excavation of the redevelopment site when it is finally cleared, as part of the early works.
Tender documents for the main works are being prepared after significant design input from the hospital user groups, made up of staff and supporters.
Group representatives have toured Sydney hospitals in a bid to ensure everything from power points to basins are put in the right places.
Scheduled for completion in late 2014, the new building will augment theatre and maternity services, and provide clinical and specialised sterilisation facilities.
Stage one and two redevelopment will also include the refurbishment of the hospital's existing renal dialysis unit and front entrance.
The state government is investing $72.7 million and the federal government $7.1 million in the project.