The new

With heart centre open, KGH renovations will complete the project

Nearly 10 years of continuous construction finally coming to an end at Kelowna General Hospital.

Kelowna General Hospital’s new $381 million Interior Heart and Surgical Centre may be up and running but the project that brought it about is not finished just yet.

The final part of the project—which produced the state-of-the-art, four-storey facility built to house the province’s fifth cardiac surgery unit and the only one outside of the Lower Mainland and Victoria—will be a total renovation of the second floor of the adjoining Strathcona Building at KGH and the creation of the hospital’s new maternity unit on its fourth floor.

The second floor of the Strathcona Building, the former home of the hospital’s oldest operating rooms, will be gutted to create space for cardiac in-patient care beds that will serve the new heart centre.

Intensive care cardiac patient beds are located in the new building. New, more modern and larger operating rooms were built in the in the IHSC building.

The IHSC and the Strathcona Building are connected to each other, with the two cardiac patient bed sections connected by a hallway through the adjoining section.

Work on the Strathcona Building, now the oldest building on the hospital grounds, is already underway, scheduled to be complete by 2017.

Last week, the heart centre was officially opened but it’s actually been up and running since the end of September.

Since then, more than 350 surgeries have taken place there and 20 babies have been born there.

Once the entire IHSC project is complete, hospital officials say they expect around 600 heart surgeries per year will be conducted at KGH.

“This (hospital) is now home to a health care facility which will serve the needs of patients of this region now and in the future,” said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson during the building’s opening ceremony.

The fourth floor—not in the original plan for the IHSC— was paid for by the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District as part of its $84.7 million contribution to the overall cost of the IHSC.

The new KGH maternity unit, including a neonatal intensive care unit, five delivery rooms, 17 inpatient beds and a C-section operating room is slated to open next spring.

The heart centre has 15 large, state-of-the-art operating rooms, including two specifically equipped to handle heart surgeries, as well as a hybrid operating room—just the second of its kind in the province. Hybrid operating rooms are set up to handle several different types of surgery at the same time when complicated surgeries must be done.