ARMIDALE will wake up tomorrow with a $60 million present under the tree – with the city’s hospital formally undergoing a traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony on Wednesday.
The ceremonial tree was raised by Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall to celebrate the building reaching its peak, just seven months since construction began.
Mr Marshall said the ceremony breathes life into a major community asset.
“This age-old ceremony promises to bring good fortune to an extremely modern building,” Mr Marshall said.
“The hospital will offer the best in clinical care to people across the Northern Tablelands, with a new and expanded emergency department, new and two additional operating theatres, new critical (intensive) care ward and inpatient unit, all while incorporating elements of the old building it’s replacing.
“With this auspicious ceremony now complete, cladding will go up and the refurbishment works can begin on the fitout of the medical facilities themselves.
The redeveloped hospital will increase capacity in all departments and equip our medical professionals with the most modern equipment and facilities to treat people in our region.”
Mr Hazzard said cranes were working overtime to bring new and upgraded health facilities to every corner of the state.
“This $60 million redevelopment has been done with the community’s future health requirements in mind and it will serve Armidale and the region for decades to come,” Mr Hazzard said.
To date, more than 1,850 cubic metres of concrete has been poured and 700 tonnes of steel reinforcement laid in the new four-storey structure.
Works are due to be complete late this year, with full refurbishment wrapped up early next for an opening in 2018. The ceremonial tree will take pride of place in a garden on-site.