Bay of Plenty construction company to build replacement mental health facility at Rotorua Hospital
Bay of Plenty construction company McMillan & Lockwood has been announced as the main contractor to build Rotorua Hospital’s replacement mental health inpatient facility.
Te Whatu Ora Group Director Operations for Lakes, Alan Wilson, says reaching this “exciting milestone” means construction will start at the Rangiuru Street site soon.
“The replacement of our mental health inpatient unit has been an important focus for Te Whatu Ora for some years. A huge amount of work has been done to ensure the new facility meets the needs of our community and we are very pleased to have reached this point,” Alan Wilson says.
McMillan & Lockwood began setting up the site last week. The pile of earth that was used to settle the ground beneath where the facility will be built will then be removed.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in late 2025, after which the testing, fit out, and staff familiarisation work will commence.
Following this, the mental health service will be able to begin operating from its new facility.
Alan Wilson says the facility will ensure the provision of modern, more therapeutic mental health and addiction services for tangata whaiora (service users) and will be safer for staff.
“It will support a focus on the healing and wellbeing of whaiora by incorporating strong kaupapa Māori design features, such as a whare manaaki, to provide a culturally appropriate space for therapy such as rongoā.”
The new facility will have 16 beds (the current facility has 14) with the potential to expand to 20 in the future.
“The layout of the bedrooms will allow the flexibility to meet different patients’ special care needs. These may include older people, people with particular vulnerabilities, or those who require a safe, low-stimulus environment with more intensive nursing.”
Work to prepare the site began in October 2022 and has included significant earthworks and the removal of several buildings, which have been repurposed and moved to new positions ― one at Rotorua Hospital, the other at Taupō Hospital.
In February 2023, a mauri stone ceremony was performed at the site by local iwi Ngāti Whakaue to instil mauri ― by way of karakia Māori ― into a selected stone, which is then buried at the site to secure vitality in the land and ensure a successful build.
Mental health and addiction staff, iwi and service users have worked with architects, engineers, and project managers on the detailed design of the building.
It has also been driven by a co-designed model of care – Te Ara Tauwhirotanga or ‘Pathways that lead us to act with kindness’ – which is also guiding the development of the sector.