The first sod has been turned on the new $1.5 billion Footscray Hospital site, officially marking the start of construction on Victoria’s biggest health infrastructure project.
Designs have been revealed for the 504-bed hospital to be built on the corner of Geelong and Ballarat roads, opposite Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus.
Expected to open in 2025, the hospital will have the capacity to treat an extra 20,000 emergency department admissions and 15,000 patients a year.
It will replace the ageing 290-bed hospital in Gordon Street, which will remain open until the new hospital is built.
Health Minister Martin Foley said the new hospital would give Melbourne’s west world-class care closer to home and create thousands of jobs.
“There will also be more outpatient, mental health, palliative care and surgical services, and wards that can operate in pandemic mode to allow for increased capacity if needed,” he said.
“It will be a community asset with facilities for childcare, a gymnasium, pharmacy, general practice and cafes.
“The project will employ more than 2000 people during peak construction, create over 250 new jobs once fully operational, and attract additional services and investment to the area.”
Victoria University Polytechnic will be the lead skills and training partner for Plenary Health, the consortium awarded the contract to design, construct, finance and maintain the hospital for 25 years, in partnership with the state government.
The hospital and university will be linked, creating a health and education precinct.
The hospital will create jobs for apprentices and opportunities for skills training and employment in fields beyond health, with strong links to VUP’s College of Trades and Civil Engineering and College of Health, Community and Business.
VU’s College of Health and Biomedicine, College of Sport and Exercise Science and Institute for Health and Sport will also be linked to the hospital.
VU Vice-Chancellor Adam Shoemaker said the new precinct would be transformative for Melbourne’s west.
“Research and education will play a key role, and the new site, though our critical partnership with the project, has provided a unique and exciting opportunity to create a world-class health and education precinct,” Professor Shoemaker said.
“Staff and students at our Footscray Park Campus will have a direct connection to the new hospital via a footbridge, providing access to dedicated education and research facilities.
“Once completed, there is scope for our nursing, midwifery and paramedicine students to further strengthen our invaluable links with the community in the west.”