The new-build project
New MHH to be created at Stadtfelddamm
There will be a hospital new-build project – that much has been clear for some time now. But where? This has been debated at length. Finally, at a press conference held on 1 April 2019, the state government announced the location decided upon for the new-build: the university hospital of the future will be created at Stadtfelddamm. A site around 16 hectares in size is available for construction there at which, in MHH’s extensive physical redevelopment, the central buildings for healthcare provision are to be erected.
The new-build project – Q&A
Hannover Medical School’s (MHH) 250-metre-long, 11-storey main hospital building was brought into service in 1971 and is now very much showing its age. Refurbishing it would not make economic sense, as more than 80 per cent requires improvement. On top of this, room sizes, storey heights and layouts no longer meet the infrastructural demands placed by modern medicine.
The location option chosen, namely to the west of the Stadtfelddamm road, offers many advantages. The required construction period will be far shorter than at the alternative Karl-Wiechert-Allee (KWA) site: plans envisage only a 10-year timeframe as opposed to an estimated 17 years at KWA. And, at KWA, the sites required for construction would have been available only after completion of the replacement new-build project and the demolition of existing structures such as the car park and administrative building; creation of new buildings for university medicine would have involved a complex ‘cascade model’.
The result would have been highly staggered construction work, complicated temporary location-swapping involving various medical functions and interim conditions, and conflicting situations with regard to existing buildings, the need for modifications and higher operating costs. Additionally, with the hospital continuing normal operations despite space limitations on campus, this would have led to hazards, constraints and delays.
It is envisaged that building work will commence in 2022, provided all planning has been completed by then.
At a presentation about the location decision held on 1 April 2019, Minister-President Stephan Weil put the costs at an estimated 1.5 billion euros.
MHH is an enterprise of the federal state of Lower Saxony. The latter has set up a special fund, with more than one billion euros having been amassed so far. However, this special fund is also earmarked partly for the hospital new-build at the University Medical Faculty in Göttingen.
Nobody knows yet exactly what the new-build will look like. Outline drawings of the new buildings at the planning stage do, however, meet the space requirements identified for the new-build by various expert assessments. Projected changes in medicine have been factored in here. The hospital new-build is intended to have 1,604 beds, i.e. nine per cent more than at present. The number of intensive-care beds is set to increase considerably – from the current level of 8.8 per cent to 15.7 per cent. This is to be achieved on a total area of 178,000 square metres, which represents a 20,000-square-metre increase in size.
To determine the amount of space needed on the basis of clinical performance figures, standard modules for the hospital’s principal core functions were defined in conjunction with users. The purpose of these modules is to form functioning units from core spaces, including (for example) a coordinating office and waiting areas, as well as ancillary facilities such as toilets or for logistical functions. Specific facilities for patient-oriented teaching and research are also an integral part of all standard modules. In turn, clusters of related functions were developed from these modules and used to a arrive at a figure for total floor space that is expedient and operationally efficient.
‘Modular planning structure’ is the key phrase here: the basic design is characterized by a flexible, modular structure derived from a basic grid 8.10 by 8.40 metres (or thereabouts) in size. This repeating pattern allows spatial structures based on multiples of eight square metres. Rooms of 16, 24, 32, 64 (etc.) square metres will thus be available that meet virtually all operational requirements of a modern hospital. It will, therefore, be possible to implement future changes without substantial modifications. The new-build’s design will allow optimum flexibility.
No. Current planning envisages three construction phases. In the first of these, several facilities will be created: the Maternity Centre (formed from the existing Department of Paediatrics) and a Centre for Emergency Medicine, a Heart and Lung Centre, and the first part of a ‘Head Centre’. This initial phase will involve construction of 78,055 square metres of space with 928 beds and 32 operating theatres. The planned outcome of Phase Two will be floor space of 70,060 square metres, with 676 beds and 17 operating theatres, the intended users being the Centre for Gastrointestinal Medicine and Surgery (Zentrum für Viszeralmedizin), the Oncology Centre and MHH’s other medical divisions.
Creating a helipad at the new-build site will not be a problem. Relevant legal requirements will be met. The take-off and landing zones can be determined such that flight routes are optimized, taking into account factors such as obstacles and the propagation of aviation noise.
Having a tunnel running beneath the Stadtfelddamm site, linking it with the existing buildings on the campus, is technically feasible.
The buildings with a major refurbishment backlog, primarily the main hospital building (K6) and the examination, treatment and research building (K5) that runs parallel to it, will be demolished. The Carl-Neuberg-Straße site is to be transformed into a ‘green boulevard’ of high amenity value, with the campus additionally redesigned and featuring numerous green spaces. These measures are intended to offset soil sealing associated with the new-build.
The hospital new-build to the west of the Stadtfelddamm road represents a unique opportunity for the existing MHH campus, which is to be developed as a Health Science Campus. The federal state, the City Administration and MHH itself hope it will prove a focal point attracting other medtech companies and research organizations. Many consider this to be the greatest chance for development that MHH has had in its 54-year history. Completely new options could arise for Lower Saxony, Hannover and the local municipal district.
The traffic and transport assessment report recommends the use of smart traffic-management systems to guide patients and visitors to four new multi-storey car parks. It also considers road improvement on Stadtfelddamm to be imperative. The bulk of private traffic, which is already from the north in any case, should be routed to the hospital via Rudolf-Pichlmayr-Straße and Stadtfelddamm. This could also provide relief, given the currently parallel routing of medical transport service vehicles and private traffic.
It is too far – more than 1 km – to conveniently walk from the ‘Medizinische Hochschule’ tram stop or ‘Misburger Straße’ bus stop currently in use. In the short term, the routes (including the no. 137 bus line) would have to include a stop on Stadtfelddamm. So that changing from the tram to the bus involves little or no delay, the idea is to coordinate the bus line with the timetabling (in 10-minute intervals) of the tram route. However, a good case can be made for considering an additional link – from the north – to the tram network. Namely, the current no. 4 tram line is operating at its capacity limits; most patients and visitors travel from the north on southbound routes. A connection to the line that serves Podbielskistraße thus appears appropriate. The federal state of Lower Saxony, MHH, the City Administration and the Region Hannover authority are working together to ensure that an extended Health Science Campus gets a tram link.
Construction traffic must be routed along Stadtfelddamm, which will by then have been improved. Use of Carl-Neuberg-Straße would have two main drawbacks: there would be chaos on the roads during peak periods, and problems with ambulances driving to the A&E unit.
The wildlife conservation assessment commissioned by MHH concluded, with reference to Germany’s Federal Nature Conservation Act (NAGBNatSchG), that no conflicts pertaining to breeding birds are to be expected. Possible bat roosts and other breeding sites (in trees or buildings) for endangered bird species would have to be identified as part of further planning, and considered in the context of biodiversity law. These are not necessarily hindrances to the plans’ implementation, since appropriate prior compensatory measures such as installation of bat boxes and the preservation of trees are possible, and are indeed to be executed.
Having anticipated this issue as long ago as 1969, planners at MHH designated the currently planned Stadtfelddamm site as a special area into which MHH may be extended. It has therefore been clear for 50 years now that the allotments there, and the plots of garden land leased out by the City Administration, will not exist in perpetuity. The state of Lower Saxony, the City of Hannover and the local federation of allotment associations are jointly seeking amicable solutions. The latter organization is aiming to help those affected find vacant plots at other allotment sites. According to the City of Hannover, however, there are no alternative areas that would allow the entire allotment site to be ‘relocated’. And: since these garden plots have never been designated as being permanent allotments in the development plan, there is, under Sec. 14 of Germany’s Federal Allotment Gardens Act (BKleingG), no entitlement to provision of alternative sites.
The sites affected are those of the Kleeblatt allotment association and of the Hoffmannsruh, Luttermanns Land and Nußriedegraben independent garden plot sites (Grabeland plots, i.e. not held as part of an association).
Notice will be served on associated allotment garden holders with effect from 30 November 2020. Notice for independent garden plots has already been served, with effect from 31 October 2019. All gardens must be vacated by the dates indicated.
Under relevant legislation (BKleingG), the lessees of the allotment gardens affected are entitled to financial compensation. The federal state is working closely with the local federation of allotment associations (Bezirksverband Hannover der Kleingärtner e.V.) so that amicable solutions can soon be reached. However, this remedy does not apply to lessees of independently held garden plots; they will, however, receive compensation for ‘crop losses’ if termination does not coincide with the end of a given leasehold year.
The level of compensation is based on the City of Hannover’s valuation guidelines and will be determined by qualified independent valuation experts and documented in a detailed assessment record. Values are calculated with reference to applicable valuation ceilings and are derived, for instance, from the amount and quality of the existing trees, shrubs etc. and built structures, provided these are permitted. As soon as the state of Lower Saxony has acquired the plots of land concerned it will, as the owner of the leased land, instruct the valuation experts accordingly.
The valuation guideline adopts a lump-sum approach that does not factor in the actual investment made. It is subject to ceilings and to the asset value method in accordance with the Valuation Ordinance (WertV) that goes with Germany’s Federal Building Code (BauGB). The replacement cost is deemed to be the current value. Costs of any labour involved are not included, with the exception of sheds and fencing. The assumption is made that the costs of creating the garden and the shed are kept to a minimum by using the most economical means possible, involving holders doing the work themselves and with the aid of neighbours. This is in line with the basic guiding principle of this valuation: preserving the social character of the allotment garden movement.
No. Under Sec. 14 BKleingG there is no legal entitlement to provision of replacement land. The gardens affected are not specified in the development plan as being permanent allotments; rather, they were designated in 1969 as a special area into which MHH may be extended. They are thus not deemed to be permanent garden allotments.
The City Administration and the local federation of allotment associations are also keen to reach amicable solutions. Hannover currently has a number of vacant garden allotments, some of them nearby. Seven vegetable plots are currently available as replacement allotments in the immediate vicinity, and a further 20 within the municipal area. Information on vacant allotment gardens is available from the local federation of allotment associations (Bezirksverband Hannover der Kleingärtner e.V.); email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If they have any questions, those affected can contact Lower Saxony’s agency for construction and property matters (NLBL) at the following address: Niedersächsische Landesamt für Bau und Liegenschaften (NLBL), Waterloostraße 4, 30169 Hannover.
- The contact for garden allotment holders in an association (Kleingärtner) is Bernd Heikes at the federal state’s public property management authority: Referat/Section BL 42 / Landesliegenschaftsfonds (LFN); email: email@example.com, Tel +49 (0) 511 101 3549.
- The contact for independent garden plot (Grabeland) holders is Sven Gora at the federal state’s public property management authority: Referat/Section BL 42 / Landesliegenschaftsfonds (LFN); email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +45 (0) 511 101 3543.
A brief history of the new-build project
Oktober 2016: Lower Saxony’s Minister-President Stephan Weil announces in a newspaper interview that structural building deficiencies at MHH and at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Göttingen (UMG) will be addressed in a project on the scale of more than one billion euros. A solution that is not “cobbled together” must be found. A steering group is to identify creative and practicable solutions. It will include representatives of the Ministries of Science and of Finance, the regional tax office (‘Oberfinanzdirektion (OFD) Niedersachsen’) and both of the university medical facilities involved.
Februar 2017: The MHH governing body (Presidium) confirms there is a new-build project – the first time it has publicly done so – in the regional Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
April 2017: The SPD/Green state-level government initiates a special fund from which the hospital new-build projects in Hannover and Göttingen are to be financed. In the first instalment, 600 million euros – budgetary surpluses carried forward from the previous year – was put into this special fund.
September 2017: An assessment report by MMI Schweiz AG concludes that a new-build project is preferable to refurbishing the existing buildings. The report proposes that two locations should be evaluated as to their suitability: the Karl-Wiechert-Allee site, where the parking level and administrative building still stand; and the area to the west of the Stadtfelddamm road, where there are currently still allotment gardens.
September 2017: The Ministry of Science sets up a Scientific Advisory Board on University Medicine in Lower Saxony. Its remit is to provide ongoing scientific guidance on the planned construction projects at MHH and UMG. The advisory board’s members are Professor Dr. Hans-Jochen Heinze (Chair), Irmtraut Gürkan, Professor Dr. Jürgen Schölmerich, Professor Dr. Karl Max Einhäupl, Professorin Dr. Gabriele Schackert and Professor Dr. Dr. Uwe Koch-Gromus.
March 2018: The Scientific Advisory Board on University Medicine in Lower Saxony comes out in favour of a new-build project for MHH to the west of Stadtfelddamm, provided the outcome of the structural-engineering review is favourable. The Chair, Professor Hans-Jochen Heinze, say that it would not be a good idea to squeeze a new MHH between the existing main hospital building and the road (Karl-Wiechert-Allee).
April 2018: The state government passes a resolution to allocate a further 300 million euros (from the 2017 budgetary surplus) to the special fund.
June 2018: The Ministry of Science establishes a Construction Advisory Board whose remit is to provide ongoing technical guidance on the building project. The Chair is assumed by Dipl.-Ing. Olaf Hasselmann, who served on the supervisory board of Hochtief AG from 1998 to 2010 and was also vice-president of the construction industry association (VdB) for Lower Saxony and Bremen between 2002 and 2010. Other members are Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Kfm. Dieter Jacob, Prof. Dr.-Ing Katharina Klemt-Albert, Dipl.-Ing. Lars Leppers, Dipl.-Kauffr. Barbara Schulte, Dipl.-Ing. Edzard Schultz and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Wanninger.
April 2019: The location for the MHH hospital new-build chosen by the state cabinet is the site to the west of Stadtfelddamm.
April 2019: The new-build projects at MHH and UMG are to be centrally managed. This is stressed to the members of the state government’s Committee on Finance and the Budget by Minister for Science Björn Thümler, who reports that an agreement has been made with both university hospitals. Under this agreement a company called Dachgesellschaft Bauvorhaben Hochschulmedizin Niedersachsen (DBHN) GmbH – a wholly owned subsidiary of the federal state – will be formed to look after the state’s interests. Operational implementation of the construction projects will be undertaken by two legally and organizationally independent construction firms based at the university locations. In each case, a majority stake in the construction firm will be held by the university in question.
May 2019: Hannover City Council approves the sale of the Stadtfelddamm site to the federal state of Lower Saxony on 28 May 2019.
June 2019: Minister for Science Björn Thümler announces that, on 3 June, the act of incorporation with the notary public will be performed for the new federal state-owned umbrella organization (DBHN). Its managing director will be Burkhard Landré. Previously, as director of ‘PD – Berater der öffentlichen Hand GmbH’ (a consultancy for public authorities), he advised the federal state during preparations for this major event and is familiar with structural aspects involved. Construction is due to start in 2022.