The Victorian Health Building Authority has announced the commencement of the final phase of construction of the A$655m ($441.6m) Ballarat Base Hospital redevelopment.

This phase, undertaken by Built, will see the establishment of a new multi-level hospital tower and a revamped main entrance on Sturt Street.

The upcoming tower will house a range of critical services, including a new emergency department, a mental health, alcohol, and other drugs hub, and a women’s and children’s hub.

Additionally, the facility will have an operating theatre suite and an additional 100 inpatient and short-stay beds.

Over the next 12 months, the site will undergo significant transformation, beginning with piling works and followed by excavation and demolition later in the year to prepare for the new structure.

The construction will support up to 480 jobs at peak, which could significantly boost the local economy.

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The new tower will be constructed using at least 90% of building materials sourced locally. The project will also support social enterprises and First Nations businesses.

In the second stage of the redevelopment, an expanded multi-deck car park was delivered, which will offer an additional 400 spaces.

The hospital’s new central energy plant and support services (CEPSS) building was also part of this stage.

The car park is set to open in August, and the CEPSS is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In the 2024-2025 State Budget, the redevelopment project received an additional A$60m in funding, which includes A$54.6m for the women’s and children’s hub and A$5.4m for the emergency department’s mental health, alcohol, and other drugs hub.

Upon completion, the upgraded Ballarat Base Hospital will be equipped to handle at least 18,000 more emergency patients and 14,500 additional inpatients annually.