GIVING birth may be painful, but the new maternity ward at Lismore Base Hospital will give proud new mums a relaxing place to rest afterwards.
The ward's first mums could be recuperating there today, after the facility was opened this morning.
The entire 500sq m complex, suspended about 20m above the ground, is significantly bigger than the old maternity ward, and designed to meet existing Australian standards and health guidelines.
It features 10 spacious rooms with large ensuites and baby bathing stations, one-touch horizontal blinds, and superb views across Lismore.
It feels like the 21st century and boasts that "brand new" smell to boot.
The modular building was built offsite and transported to Lismore in early May on a fleet of 14 semi-trailers, and placed into its suspended position by a huge crane, causing quite a kerfuffle on Uralba St.
Such are the marvels of modern construction technology that it arrived 90% complete, according to Woollam Construction branch manager Ben Cummins.
The offsite construction also allowed a seamless transition into the new
maternity ward without lengthy onsite construction delays.
It is officially temporary until Lismore Base Hospital gets further funding for its proposed Stage 3b redevelopment, but it has a 20-year lifespan.
"If we get more money and build more of the new hospital, eventually all maternity services will be moved into the new building," said Scott Huxley, project officer for the Stage 3a redevelopment.
In the meantime, everyone can enjoy the "temporary" yet very comfortable new ward.
The opening of the ward is the last step in the enabling works for Lismore Base Hospital's new hospital wing.
The next phase in the Stage 3a redevelopment is the demolition of the southern wing of the hospital, expected in July.
At a glance
Lismore Base Hospital's new maternity ward:
10 spacious rooms
Large ensuite bathrooms
Multi-purpose lounge and group training room for antenatal classes.
Hearing testing and resuscitation room
Officially temporary (until funding is granted for Stage 3b development) but has a 20 year lifespan