Construction just keep on going at Kelowna General Hospital.
And over the next few months there will be even more as as one building comes down, another starts to go up.
With shovel in hand, Health Minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid joined health and community representatives Friday, including local MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson, as well CORD chairman Robert Hobson, to celebrate the start of construction on the new Interior Heart and Surgical Centre building at KGH.
“This marks a milestone for health services here,” said MacDiarmid, noting the centre will be a regional facility, one used by cardiac atients from throughout the Interiror.
To make room for the new, three-storey, 14,000-square-metre heart centre, the oldest building at the hospital—the Pandosy Building—is currently being deolished.
Thomson, said the demolition was bittersweet for him as he was born in the Pandosy Building back when it was the main KGH structure. So too was Hobson, a Kelowna city councillor and chairman of Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District board.
The regional hospital district contributed $70 million of the $169.1 million cost of the new centre.
“With the start of construction of the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre building, we are entering a new era of cardiac care here in the Interior,” said Thomson. “This new building will provide timely, life-saving therapies and surgeries to area residents who previously would have to have been transported to the coast.”
When the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre building opens to patients in mid-2015, it will be the province’s fifth cardiac critical care centre and the first outside the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, meaning Interior patients won’t have to travel far from their families for cardiac care.
The new building will provide a permanent location for cardiac-surgical services and programs at Kelowna General Hospital. The IHSC building will have state-of-the-art surgical facilities, a medical device reprocessing department, cardiac intensive care unit and post-operative recovery area.
The total cost of the entire Interior Heart and Surgical Centre project—of which the centre building is one component—is $367 million. The project also includes the Dr. Walter Anderson KGH laboratory building, renovations to the existing Royal and Strathcona buildings and “fit-outs” in the new Centennial building.
Alan Linsley of Plenary Heath Group, the consortium designing, building and financing the IHSC building, said it’s design means the building will now have three floors instead of originally envisioned four, cost $33 million less than originally estimated and will be built several months earlier than originally planned. And all that will be done without sacrificing space inside.
“Basically we will have a larger floor plate but essentially the same square footage,” he said.
Interior Health entered into a fixed-price, performance-based agreement with , Plenary Health, to design, build, finance and maintain the surgical building for a term of 30 years which ends in 2043.
The health ministry said all clinical health services will be publicly funded and publicly provided in accordance with the Canada Health Act.
The B.C. government has invested around $1.5 billion dollars in capital healthcare projects in the Interior since 2001, including the new Centennial Building at KGH which opened in May, the new Polson Tower at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and the UBC faculty of medicine and Interior Health clinical academic campus building at KGH.
Over the next few months the Pandosy Building will be torn down, a job that has already started.
Hospital officials said they uncovered what was the main entrance to the hospital when the Pandosy Building was the main structure, and it was used as the backdrop for Friday’s ground-breaking ceremony.