The seemingly never-ending construction at Kelowna General Hospital has seen the start of a another new project.
With the new six-storey Centennial Tower nearing completion, ground was broken Friday on a new $47 million clinical support building across Pandosy Street from the hospital.
The new building, to house KGH’s laboratory and several other support departments, will be linked to the Centennial Tower by an elevated, enclosed walkway three storeys above the street.
The new 7,850-square-metre, three-storey support building is the second of four projects leading to full cardiac care at KGH.
The first was the introduction of angioplasty procedures last year. The support building is the second, and the third will be the conversion of two operating rooms in the new tower to allow open heart surgeries to take place starting in late 2012.
The final part will be building of the $448 million Interior Heart and Surgical Centre at KGH.
Construction of the heart centre will start in late 2013 after a year of site preparation, with the building to be complete by 2016.
It will be located on the site of the existing, aging Pandosy Building at the hospital.
During Friday’s ground-breaking ceremony for the support building, local MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson lauded the project, noting it will be part of the first heart centre outside the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
Thomson said the investment in the heart centre project will bring provincial spending at KGH to nearly $1 billion since 2008.
“The East Pandosy (clincial support) building is a critical component of the IHSC project, and will help to create good-paying construction jobs for our region—in fact, the entire IHSC project will create about 2,800 jobs over the lifetime of the project,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.
Robert Hobson, a Kelowna councillor and chairman of the Central Okanagan Regional District board, noted that the regional hospital district, using local taxpayer money has also contributed nearly $200 million into the construction at KGH.
Graham Design-Build Services will design and build the clinical support building.
The firm also built the UBCO clinical campus building at the hospital and is building the Centennial Tower.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rob Halpenny, chief executive officer of Interior Health, said the heath authority has found its first surgeon for the new heart centre.
While the name of the doctor has not yet been revealed, he said an offer has been made and accepted and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.