But increasing patient numbers meant a new centre was needed to meet the community's future palliative care needs.
Last year a major refurbishment of three 1970s' buildings located on the hospice's new site in Hillcrest was concluded. The buildings were extended and upgraded, inside and out, with 80 different subcontracting firms donating their time and skills to the project.
The new hospice was officially opened in March 2010 and includes an admin building with conference and training rooms, Rainbow Place the children's care facility and the in-patient respite care centre.
A combination of Linea Weatherboard and Titan Façade Panel was chosen as a visually appealing, durable and low-maintenance cladding solution, says Mike Livingstone from Livingstone Building Company, which donated project management services to the rebuild.
Martin Swann, formerly of Chibnall Swann Team Architecture, says that in addition to their longevity, Linea Weatherboard and Titan Façade Panel helped create the desired design aesthetic of a commercial/residential feel. The three buildings have different functions and while we wanted them to have their own independence and style they needed to tie in visually, he says.
The Linea Weatherboard is painted Resene Fuscous Grey and offset by elements of Titan Façade Panel painted in a contrasting random checker pattern of Resene Hawaiian Tan and Resene Desperado. These bold red-orange tones give the facade a vibrant lift. Pale Slate is used on the Linea Weatherboard on the Rainbow Place to differentiate it slightly from the other buildings.
The administration block has a distinctive commercial look, but each block is linked by the material selection, the architecture and the colours, says Martin Swann. 'We've used James Hardie products on a variety of projects before, so we're very familiar with Linea Weatherboard and Titan Façade Panel they provide good options in terms of the architectural forms.'
Linea Weatherboard was also used internally on one of the long hallways. In addition to providing a relaxed feel, it has a practical benefit, giving patients something to hold onto as they make their way down the hall.
Waikato Hospice CEO, Elizabeth Bang, says everyone is delighted with the transformation.
The Linea Weatherboard looks great. Weâre absolutely thrilled with the new buildings and the public are very impressed, she says. People can't believe that these are the same buildings they look brand new. The main comment we get is that it doesn't look institutionalised at all, which is exactly what we wanted to hear.