The business plan for a redeveloped and state-of-the-art Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake, British Columbia has been completed and officially approved on time and on schedule.

“This project will improve health care in the region, increase necessary services and help retain health-care professionals. In the costruction period, it will bring some 1,400 direct and indirect jobs to the region,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

Work will include a three-storey (plus basement), approximately 9,500 square metre (102,000 square foot) new addition to the hospital, as well as renovations to parts of the current facility.

Cost of the project is $217.75 million and will be shared between the provincial government, Interior Health, and Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District.

“The project has expanded since we approved the concept plan in February 2018 with an increase of up to 53 beds. Cariboo Memorial currently has 28,” said Dix.

People in the area have been awaiting redevelopment of the hospital since 2011, when the Cariboo Memorial Hospital master site plan was completed. In the spring of 2015, the original concept plan was submitted to the Ministry of Health. More than two years later, in October 2017, a revised concept plan was submitted, and approved in February 2018. The business plan was approved on schedule.

Features include a larger emergency department, more room for ambulatory care, a mental health and substance use inpatient unit, a maternal services unit – which lets new parents stay in the same room with their babies until they are ready to go home, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine space, 71 new parking spots and the addition of 15 new beds with space reserved to open more in the future.

The redevelopment includes the creation of an inter-faith sacred space on the main floor of the new building, which will allow for traditional, sacred cultural and healing practices. During the business planning stage, several people and groups participated in planning sessions, including First Nations and Aboriginal groups. As a result, the hospital redevelopment will reflect the unique identity and needs of the local communities.

The project will be design-build, in which a contractor designs and builds the facility to meet standards and performance requirements specified by the health authority. The health authority will retain ownership throughout construction and will be responsible for maintaining the facility over its lifespan. Work will be completed at an energy-efficiency level above the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard.

Opened in 1963, the 28-bed Cariboo Memorial Hospital is considered outdated in terms of space and functionality. The population served by the Cariboo Memorial Hospital is expected to increase by 5.3 per cent by 2033.

Construction will be completed in two phases. Phase one will begin in 2021 with work on the new addition and is expected to finish in 2023. Then phase two will begin on renovations to the current hospital, which is scheduled to be complete in 2025.

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