FRIENDLY Society Private Hospital is poised to begin a massive expansion to its base worth about $26 million with the permanent closure of a street, increased parking and more jobs all part of the plan.
The master plan is in its infancy as The Friendlies look to cater to growing health demands across the region and capitalise on recent multi-million dollar investments including the medical consulting suites and specialist centre at 72 Crofton St and the hospital car park at 75 Woondooma St.
The material change of use application says it is the largest investment by the hospital to date, and will see a substantial increase in theatre capacity, refurbishment and upgrade of existing theatre support areas.
In May, Friendly Society Private Hospital chairman Les Hancock told the NewsMail the $26 million expansion was still in the early planning stages and involved the replacement of the Cath Lab, which had a lifespan of about 10 years.
The current lab turned five in November.
It is the only Cath Lab (public or private), also known as the Cardiac Investigations Unit, between the Sunshine Coast and Townsville.
The development is expected to generate significant employment both during the construction and operational phases, including a projected 42 staff. But unlike the 2011 expansion, the ultimate bed numbers will not increase due to the new 28-bed ward proposed on the first level of the new extension to replace the existing 30-bed Unit 5 William Schoch Ward.
There are five stages to the master plan, the most significant being the permanent closure of a section of Crofton St, which will become the new dynamic front of the hospital.
An application to Department of Natural Resources and Mines for the permanent closure of part of Crofton St was made following a detailed feasibility study into growing the hospital and was approved in October last year.
The exact number of car park spaces to be provided and a detailed timeline are still up in the air, but it is anticipated that all stages of the development will be completed by 2029.