2027 is still set as the completion year for the new Dawson Creek and District Hospital, with Northern Health sharing an update with the Peace River Regional District at their August 17 board meeting. 

Cathy Ulrich, President and CEO of Northern Health, Mike Hoefer, Executive Director, Capital Planning, Facilities Operations and Logistics, and Angela De Smit, Chief Operating Officer appeared as a delegation to present the update. 

“Essentially everything is on schedule and on budget, and on scope,” said Hoefer. “Now we are actively doing ground works on the site with the design builder and we’re working rapidly towards fall, setting up for concrete pours and crane erection.” 

Permits are in place for the build, added Hoefer, noting it was a graduated permitting process. They’re expecting to be in operation by early 2027, if everything goes according to plan, with medical equipment and staff being moved in following substantial completion. 

De Smit said the staff entrances are designed to reduce cross flow in the back, while curbing emissions by reducing parking outside and increasing reliance on public transportation by adding drop off loops for a connections bus. 

“So, there’s less emissions or riding together, versus you know, five people coming for a meeting and they bring five vehicles, versus how can you carpool and those types of things,” she said. “It’s about keeping the environment safe as well in terms of parking.” 

The new hospital will be able to handle two ambulances arriving at the same time, added Hoefer, further noting that a decontamination area is part of the design for workplace and contamination incidents. 

A mental health ward is also part of the new building, and is regional in scope. An increase of beds from 15 to 18 is planned as part of the ward. 

“We’ve positioned Dawson Creek as the centre for inpatient psychiatry,” said Ulrich. “We do have some capability in Fort St. John for mental health services, we have psychiatry there, and we are able to provide some care in that hospital, but the inpatient unit for higher level psychiatry is in Dawson Creek.” 

A $590 million dollar contract was awarded to Calgary-based Graham Design Builders LP to design and build the new hospital through Northern Health and the province. The PRRD contributed $177 million to the project. 

70 beds are expected at the new hospital, up from 24. Emergency department spaces are also increasing from 10 to 15.

The existing Dawson Creek and District Hospital will remain open during construction. Existing services will also remain in place, with the addition of laboratory, diagnostic imaging and physical rehabilitation upon completion. 

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Have a story idea or opinion? Email tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 18, 2023 at 19:55

This item reprinted with permission from   Alaska Highway News   Fort St. John, British Columbia

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