Construction begins on building patient care in Penticton
Premier Christy Clark and MLA Dan Ashton led the official groundbreaking for the new patient care tower and parkade at Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) with hospital staff, community members and health-care partners.
“We all know someone who has needed hospital care – and when that happens, they deserve the best possible care, close to home in the South Okanagan and Similkameen,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This is the value of a strong, growing economy – it gives us the ability to make investments in the services we all depend on.”
“Penticton Regional Hospital is the referral centre for the area and plays a critical role within the Southern Interior’s network of hospitals,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Given the growth of the region, we know expansion at this site is necessary and it is great to have shovels in the ground.”
The hospital opened its doors at the current location in 1951, and the last major addition to the site happened 25 years ago. Building more patient care and improving service efficiency and patient flow with a new state-of-the-art medical building is a top priority for Interior Health and the Province.
“This is a historic day for health care in the south Okanagan and Similkameen,” said Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton. “This expansion of our regional hospital will have long-lasting positive impacts on our community through job creation and improved patient experiences.”
The 26,170 square metre (281,700 square foot) patient care tower will bring together outpatient care services into one building, provide five modern operating rooms, expand the medical device reprocessing/sterilization unit to nearly triple its current size, and provide three floors of single-occupancy inpatient rooms with private washrooms.
“This project is a boost for our local economy both directly through construction and employment but also as an amenity to attract new growth,” said Michael Brydon, chair, Regional Hospital District of Okanagan-Similkameen. “The Regional Hospital District is proud to support the project and we are all eagerly anticipating its completion.”
Also included in the new tower is expanded space for the UBC Faculty of Medicine program.
“By providing a better experience to the next generation of health-care professionals we believe more of them will choose to live and work in our communities after they complete their training.” said Erwin Malzer, chair, Interior Health Board. “Interior Health provides a broad scope of specialized training and education for learners from all disciplines and is committed to providing employment and educational opportunities in our facilities.”
Construction of the new tower and parkade will occur alongside day-to-day operations of the hospital and will be integrated with existing infrastructure. The project includes two phases to minimize any impacts at the site. Phase 2 renovations to expand the emergency department and support areas will begin after the new tower opens in 2019.
After a competitive bid process, Interior Health entered into a contract with EllisDon Infrastructure to design, build, partially finance and maintain both the new tower and existing buildings for a 30-year period. The contract makes certain that EllisDon Infrastructure assumes all construction (cost and schedule), design, long-term maintenance and operational risks.
“This is an important project for EllisDon,” said David McFarland, vice-president and area manager, EllisDon British Columbia. “We are excited to be in Penticton and to have construction underway on this exceptional addition to the hospital.”
“The public is excited to see major construction of the patient care tower start. They have committed to raising millions of dollars to help purchase the medical equipment for the new facility and the medical foundation couldn’t be more proud of the generosity displayed over the last year,” Janice Perrino, executive director, South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. “We still have a long ways to go to reach the goal but we will reach it in time for the opening in 2019.”
All clinical health services continue to be funded by the Province of B.C. and provided by Interior Health in keeping with the principles of the Canada Health Act. The building will be owned by Interior Health and, at the end of the 30-year contract, the health authority has the option to renew, seek other partners or take maintenance responsibilities back.