With the excavation base level now reached, the extension to GZO Spital Wetzikon is set to grow skywards. In the presence of numerous guests – including representatives from the shareholding municipalities, the Zweckverband Spital Uster (sponsoring association for nearby Uster hospital) and the Head of the Canton of Zurich Department of Health – the foundation was laid not only for the new building but for the future provision of a reliable, state-of-the-art regional healthcare service.
A good deal has happened at the GZO Spital Wetzikon site since the ground-breaking ceremony a year ago. The "Lindenhügel", an artificial hillock planted with lime trees, has gone, to be replaced by heavy construction plant: excavators have dug up an area of 6,800 m² and extracted some 69,000 m³ of soil and stone while parts of the existing structures have been demolished. Although the GZO Spital Wetzikon refurbishment and extension scheme is now in full swing, sophisticated construction planning and the tremendous flexibility of staff have ensured that routine hospital operations continue to run smoothly.
"Today's challenges are tomorrow's opportunities"
The symbolic foundation-stone-laying ceremony on 7 May, attended by Government Councillor and Head of the Department of Health Natalie Rickli, marked the achievement of the first construction milestone: arrival at the deepest point in the excavation, some 14 m below the original ground level. It is from here that the hospital extension will grow skywards. With the new-build works and modernisation of the existing facilities scheduled to run until 2025, a further six demanding years lie ahead for the entire project team. Accordingly, the three speakers at the ceremony focused – each from his own perspective – on the present and future challenges.
Chairman of the Board of Directors Jörg Kündig drew attention to the new cantonal hospital planning list, currently under preparation, and the financial pressure on all hospitals, including Wetzikon. As he explained: "Up-to-the-minute and forward-looking infrastructure is key to maintaining a high-quality and competitive basic healthcare service. GZO Spital Wetzikon is therefore laying the foundation not only for a new building, but also for its own future. The planned merger with Uster hospital and an efficiently coordinated range of services would allow the two sites to complement each other and consolidate their position as indispensable healthcare providers for the Zürcher Oberland and upper Glatttal regions."
Matthias P. Spielmann, CEO of GZO Spital Wetzikon, was full of praise at the way the hospital employees had risen to the challenge of working "in the middle of a building site": "Despite the enormous – sometimes even superhuman – demands placed on everyone to keep the hospital up and running during the works, flexibility, commitment and an understanding attitude have helped us cope with all the noise and logistical inconvenience." As he sees it, this clearly shows that the employees have recognised their own future professional opportunities and the new healthcare options that will be available to patients in the wake of the hospital extension and modernisation scheme.
As Karsten Hell, CEO of total contractor Steiner AG, underlined, the GZO Spital Wetzikon project also represents a stiff test for the building team. "As one of the more demanding fields in our industry, hospital and care-centre construction requires specialist know-how and experience. Steiner offers the combined benefits of an expert team and more than 45 years of experience covering some 60 hospital buildings completed throughout Switzerland. And we are constantly developing our services so as to deliver innovative solutions that meet the high standards placed on healthcare infrastructure in general and the Wetzikon facility in particular."
Time capsule for posterity
After making their speeches, Messrs Kündig, Spielmann and Hell proceeded to perform the official act. They lowered into the ground a corrosion-resistant metal box filled with objects typical of our time: that day's edition of the Zürcher Oberländer newspaper, the most recent GZO Spital Wetzikon annual report, standard medical, nursing and therapy utensils plus a set of project drawings. Should anyone in the distant future happen upon this box and examine its contents, then he or she will learn everything about the historic day of 7 May 2019, the building and the circumstances surrounding its construction.
Further information on the GZO Spital Wetzikon refurbishment and extension scheme plus details about the individual construction phases are available at www.gzo-bau.ch. Here you can also click on the live webcam for a first-hand impression of progress on site.
Information for the media
Stephan Gervers, Head of Marketing and Communications GZO Spital Wetzikon,
Tel. +41 44 934 27 14
Steiner AG, Corporate Communications
Tel.: +41 58 445 20 00, corpcom@steiner .ch
Media Release as PDF
The GZO management team, representatives from the shareholding municipalities and the total contractor, together with the Head of the Canton of Zurich Department of Health, bury a time capsule as the symbolic foundation stone for the hospital extension. (Picture: Nepos Fotografie, Wetzikon)
From left to right: Jörg Kündig, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GZO Spital Wetzikon; Nicola Maimone, Head of Construction Project Management at GZO Spital Wetzikon; Natalie Rickli, Government Councillor and Head of the Department of Health, Canton of Zurich; Wilhelm Rudolph, Senior Project Manager at Steiner AG; Matthias P. Spielmann, CEO of GZO Spital Wetzikon; Martin Thiessen, Head of Construction and Infrastructure at GZO Spital Wetzikon; Karsten Hell, CEO Steiner AG