18/06/2008 - 22:00

March ’09 opening tipped for $16m ear research facility

18/06/2008 - 22:00

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Western Australia is set to become a world leader in hearing loss research with the construction of a $16 million flagship audiology facility on Salvado Road in Subiaco.

March ’09 opening tipped for $16m ear research facility

Western Australia is set to become a world leader in hearing loss research with the construction of a $16 million flagship audiology facility on Salvado Road in Subiaco.

The Ear Science Institute Australia (formerly Lions Ear and Hearing Institute) has signed a 50-year lease from land owners, the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, with construction expected to be completed in March 2009.

The facility is being built adjacent to St Joseph's Church and across from St John of God Hospital.

Upon completion, the three-storey building will have a total of 2,170 square metres of floor space, plus an underground car park with about 60 bays.

Construction campaign director Mark Terry said the not-for-profit institute had raised about $10 million for the construction, but had a shortfall of about $6 million.

WA Business News understands that two tenants have been secured at the facility so far, including internationally renowned surgeon Professor Marcus Atlas.

Project manager Jim Murphy, from the ear institute, said although a shortage of steel had put the project back five weeks, he was confident the state-of-the-art healthcare facility would be completed on time.

"This facility will be unique because for the first time it brings together all of the hearing experts, from surgeons to people working with after surgery care, to researchers, all under the one roof," he said.

"Before, these types of services had been scattered all over the place."

Mr Murphy said the new facility would provide world-class research into the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all ear and hearing disorders.

The building, designed by West Perth-based Peter Hunt Architect Pty Ltd, will be a contemporary concrete frame structure with glass and aluminium cladding.

The main façade facing Salvado Road will be mainly glass.

Consulting suites will be situated on the ground floor, while day surgery will be performed on the middle floor, with the top level to be used for research and conferencing.

Architect Paul van Niekerk said designing the flagship facility was a complex process.

"We've been dealing with a number of different people who have very different requirements, so the approval process has been difficult at best," Mr van Niekerk told WA Business News.

Following approval from the Subiaco Ratepayers' Association, Peter Hunt Architect had to ensure the facility complied with Subiaco council's building codes, while ensuring that the layout satisfied the medical requirements of surgeons and researchers.

Construction giant BGC is building the facility.

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