From outside, the erstwhile Assembly building standing tall on Omandurar Estate looks serene. Inside, hundreds of workers are racing against time to convert the landmark building into a multi-super specialty hospital by this year-end.
The massive structure that witnessed a budget session of the State assembly is now undergoing alterations to accommodate a 500-bed referral hospital, with departments such as neurosurgery and medical oncology. Nearly 70 per cent of the civil works to turn block ‘A’ into the hospital has been finished so far.
Meticulous planning has gone into the building of aluminium partitions or walls between long hallways to turn them into wards, doctors’ rooms or operation theatres. For instance, what was planned as the governor’s room on the ground floor is now being converted into a septic operation theatre.
The magnificent assembly hall beneath the dome, which was planned as a forum for deliberation of public issues, will host medical conferences. The council and cabinet halls will also be used to hold conferences. About 400 workers are involved in creating a hospital environment with 14 operation theatres.
Officials of the PWD said the project is being taken up at a cost of Rs. 26.29 crore.
Once the civil work is over, work to install equipment to be procured by Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation will begin in October. The ‘circle’, comprising the fifth and sixth floors above the public plaza, which housed the offices of the home and public department, is being converted into space for 10 operation theatres.
“We are building ramps on either side of the building to take patients to all six floors,” said an official.
A decision is yet to be taken on the public plaza originally intended to be developed as a recreation space.
Scaffolding still remains on the dome, a replica of Valluvar Kottam, which awaits completion.