The demolition of the old Masterton hospital is underway, with six buildings already pulled down.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which manages the property on behalf of the Crown, is overseeing the large and complex demolition of the 26 buildings.
LINZ Land and Property Manager Matt Bradley says the demolition is progressing well, with six smaller buildings, including the old teaching annex, deconstructed.
“Over the last few months, the focus has been on salvaging as much material as possible before demolition got underway, but this also influenced the way in which we removed these buildings.
“Rather than tearing them down, which would’ve been an easier and faster option, they were carefully deconstructed to save any material that could be repurposed, including all the native timber framing.”
So far, this considered approach has seen around 500 cubic metres of material salvaged, roughly equivalent to the volume of 20 milk tankers, with more expected as the demolition continues.
“It’s been extremely rewarding for all the crews involved to know they’re helping preserve a part of the hospital’s history, as well as benefit the environment by preventing unnecessary waste going to landfill.”
Mr Bradley says once the smaller buildings are deconstructed, work will begin removing the larger buildings later this year.
The first larger building to come down will be the old boiler house, followed by the three-storey ward, nurses’ home, Nightingale ward and the maternity ward.
“We expect these buildings will come down much quicker, as the hard work has already been done removing any salvageable material and asbestos from the structures. This next phase will involve more machinery than manpower.”
Mr Bradley says contractors will continue to minimise any disruption to essential services, the Wairarapa Hospital and Masterton Medical Centre.
“Things will ramp up now the weather is improving, and we’re in Alert Level 2.”
The demolition is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
The former hospital is one of around 900 properties including former prisons, schools, houses, and other hospitals that are managed and maintained by LINZ and earmarked for future Treaty settlements.
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa have initialled a deed of settlement for the site. Once the deed is enacted, they have one year to decide whether they wish to purchase the property.