A regional education hub, a specialist medical and diagnostic services centre, an aged care facility and apartments - all suggestions for the ongoing use of the exisiting Maitland Hospital and all ideas that must be put on hold pending an inquiry.
That's the view of Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison when asked to comment on recent suggestions flagged for the centre's future use.
Ms Aitchison said an inquiry must be held into the hospital's future use and "it must remain in public hands."
Maitland Hospital will cease to operate as a regional medical hub in 2022 when the new $470 million hospital opens at Metford.
Since the announcement of a new hospital community members have speculated about the hospital's future use and suggested many varied options for the High Street site including a specialist medical centre, an aged care facility, a regional education hub, apartments and a community centre.
Former Maitland Mayor Ray Fairweather said the current hospital should be used as a public aged care facility.
"A facility for the frail, those suffering dementia and for their treatment where possible. A section for treatment of mental disease for in-house patients and out-patients, a public dental service that would also provide a service to aged persons and out-patients," he said.
Mr Fairweather envisaged everything from a hairdresser to a podiatrist on site, providing a one-stop-show for the elderly.
Another resident Ed Peters, said the hospital should be modified for educational purposes and converted into a Years 11 and 12 senior campus.
Mr Peters also suggested that the Department of Education's Maitland District Office could operate from the site along with health professionals such as occupational and speech therapists as well.
"Additional spaces could be used as purpose built spaces for conferences and various professional learning events - in a nutshell, turn the old hospital into an education hub," he said.
"This would, reduce the current and future growth strain on some of our schools and allow our existing high schools to become either Years 5 to 10 or Years 7 to 10 middle schools."
But Ms Aitchison believes it's too premature and said there needed to be an inquiry.
"But by all accounts the hospital should stay in public hands," she said.
"It depends what the community needs at the time (the new hospital opens)," Ms Aitchison said.
"It's two years before the new hospital is on line and there are a lot of people waiting to see if it meets all the needs it is supposed to.
"It's premature to decide what the current hospital should be used for at the moment.
"We need to know what parts of the building have issues with heritage, what parts have issues with asbestos," she said.
"It has to be an investment in a variety of community needs. We need new schools too.
"It should remain in the public hands and used to meet social infrastructure needs - health, education, aged care or general community use," Ms Aitchison said.
The new hospital is expected to open in 2022.
The construction of the $470 million facility will create almost 5000 direct and indirect jobs, bringing an added boost to the city's economy.
There will be almost twice the number of beds in the new hospital. The current hospital has 196 beds and the new hospital will have 339.
Twelve chemotherapy chairs have been included in the new design. This is the first time the service will be offered in Maitland.
It is expected to be on par with the services at the Calvary Mater in Newcastle.
The new hospital will be on a portion of the Metford Road site, which will open the door for partners to come on board.
Health officials have not ruled out the possibility of a specialist centre on the site.