Staff mark the foundation of the site

Westmead Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead staff members mark the foundations of the site

Last week, members of the Westmead Redevelopment project team, alongside staff from Westmead Hospital, the University of Sydney and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, marked the foundation of the central acute services building construction site, placing their hands in a slab of concrete.

The slab will be sealed within the foundation of the new hospital building. This ceremony is important as it celebrates the legacy that staff have made at Westmead. Staff that pressed their hands into the concrete included a staff member who has been working at Westmead Hospital since it was built 40 years ago, and a new emergency department nurse from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Westmead Redevelopment executive director Leena Singh said it was important to recognise the commitment of the existing and future Westmead workforce. “We have a rich history and wealth of experience at Westmead, and it’s with this legacy in mind, that we mark the site today in recognition of where we’ve been and what’s to come,” she said.

Westmead Hospital nursing unit manager Jo Merkelbach, who has been working at Westmead Hospital since it was built in 1978, spoke about how healthcare had changed. “Since I first started at Westmead Hospital, patient numbers have increased, but the length of patient hospital stays have significantly decreased.

“When I moved to the hospital’s haematology unit, I was able to witness new capabilities, with research, new medications and more chances for people with haematological disorders.”

“The size of the Westmead precinct has also significantly expanded in my time here, with even more expansion planned. The dynamics of our buildings and the different support structures available for staff and patients are continually growing - it’s been amazing to experience all of the changes so far and to anticipate what’s next for Westmead.”

The freshly hand-printed concrete slab marks the end of the early site preparation work for the new hospital building, as the beginnings of the structure start rising from the ground.

Westmead Redevelopment senior project director Matt Vizard said the next few months would be busy across the site.

“From now on, everyone will begin to see our lift core structures rising by two to three levels each month” he said.

“It’s very much a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it construction site now; we already have two massive tower cranes active on the site, with a third crane arriving in April.

“We currently have 165 workers on-site daily, with an anticipated 850 peak workforce on-site over the life of the project.

“We have also had 2625m3 of concrete poured so far, of a projected total of 35,000m3 between now and 2020 when the new building opens; that’s not just a lot of concrete, but a significant logistical undertaking, with a requirement to truck all of our materials onto the site. Needless to say, we’re all quite busy!”

You can expect to see lots more activity from the site in April, with more aerial images and video progress footage, People of the Project interviews and antics from our beloved site cranes Cranye West and Sir Lift-a-lot. Our third crane will also be arriving in April, so stay tuned!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, contact the project team on 1800 990 296 or via email at

Photo: Westmead Hospital nursing unit manager Jo Merkelbach and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead emergency department nurse Tanja Morris mark the foundations of the site with their hands.

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