The construction of two new hospitals at Australia’s Long Bay Correctional Complex marked a fresh approach to secure care, as well as a major investment in mental health facilities for the state of New South Wales.
The A$130 million project in the Sydney suburb of Malabar involved the design, construction, commissioning, maintenance and the provision of soft services for the two new hospitals. One is an 85-bed prison hospital and the other is a 135-bed forensic hospital, providing care and treatment to mentally ill patients incarcerated – for the safety of themselves and the community.
Creating a Healing Environment
The guiding ambition behind the design was to do away with the typical, oppressive prison atmosphere. The project team sought to create a benign, healing environment better suited to addressing patients’ mental health issues and fostering rehabilitation. For the design team, our challenge was to achieve this within the context of a high-security facility. A low-stress clinical environment had to be created without compromising the security measures essential to the patients and public safety.
A Holistic Approach to Building Services
WSP provided hydraulic, audiovisual and fire safety design services to the project, which was delivered through a public private partnership. We provided all engineering building services, including environmentally sustainable design. Our team took a holistic approach, with a strong emphasis on improved wellness and indoor environmental quality. The design includes:
- Chilled beam technology
- No recirculation of air
- Rainwater collection
- Solar water heating
- Future capacity for cogeneration
Ensuring Maximum Security at the Forensic Hospital
The forensic hospital effectively combines a hospital environment with a maximum-security perimeter. Since the facility allows prisoners who develop mental health issues to receive treatment without leaving the Long Bay complex, the design team had leeway to create a building that feels residential but maintains appropriate levels of security. It contains 91 beds for acute and sub-acute patients, 24 beds for sub-acute females and a 20-bed long-stay unit, plus a recreation and rehabilitation centre.
Improving the Prison Hospital Facilities
The prison hospital replaces an existing facility and includes medical and surgical wards, a facility for aged care and rehabilitation and a mental health unit, plus a hospital entry building and visitor’s centre, gatehouse and maximum-security perimeter wall. Outside the wall are parking facilities and a road.