One-site hospital taking shape: Sudbury Regional Hospital project is on time and on budget.
"Everyone was looking for it to be tripped up and become delayed," said the general superintendent at the southern Ontario construction company, speaking to the media this spring after a tour of the hospital construction site.
"That's why I want to make sure that everyone understands that we are definitely on time and on budget."
Now that construction is well underway, the majority of patients being treated at the Laurentian site have been temporarily moved into the south tower of the hospital, which was completed during Phase 1, but had sat mostly vacant until recently.
"We're currently renovating the north tower, or the old portion of the hospital. We're renovating levels seven, eight and nine. After that, we'll start on the heli-pad," said Logan, who has worked on three other hospital projects.
"The east addition is the new emergency department. We've done the demolition there, and the structural steel is being put up. The structural steel is up for the centre tower penthouse. You're witnessing right now the elevators and the stairs for the centre tower being put up."
It's not news to anyone in Greater Sudbury that construction on the 439-bed hospital has had a long and often troubled history.
Construction on Phase 1 began in 1998, but was halted in 2002 after massive cost overruns. The project did not re-start until a year ago.
EllisDon will be paid $131.9 million for Phase 2 of the project. With the cost of furniture, equipment, permits, architectural and engineering fees, the cost for Phase 2 works out to $225 million. The entire cost of both phases of the project will work out to $362 million.
The one-site hospital is being built under the province's alternate financing and procurement (AFP) strategy.
The plan lets the lowest-bidding contractor borrow money privately to finance the project. When construction is complete, the province will pay the contractor back.
The idea is that the contractors will be more motivated to finish the project on time and on budget because they are borrowing the money themselves.
Logan said most construction will be complete by early December 2009, with all the finishing touches and moving completed by March 2010.
The project is extremely challenging because construction workers have to co-exist with patients, he said. At times, EllisDon has agreed to work at night to minimize disruptions.
"All the renovation work in the north tower had been particularly challenging because there is still occupied space below us--nephrology and oncology. These are some very compromised patients," he said.
"To maintain infection control, dust control and sound control, while we're still renovating above them, has been quite a challenge."
So far, construction has taken place safely, without any workers sustaining injuries, said Logan.
Some parts of the building are starting to take shape, including the 39-bed intensive care unit, which has large picture windows overlooking Lily Creek. Patients will also be sealed off into their own space by sliding glass doors, which will improve infection control.
"If we could take you into St. Joseph's Health Centre right now, you would see an open space with no walls and no privacy--just curtains between patients. This will be a much improved set-up," said Sudbury Regional Hospital CEO Vickie Kaminski.
"The windows are phenomenal. People who are in intensive care hear noises all night long--different monitors beeping--and there's lights on all the time because there's staff here looking after them. It's hard for them to get oriented with time and place.
"If you have windows, they can see nighttime, and they can see daytime. If they see the rocks, they know they're in Sudbury. It's a big benefit for them all the way around."
Kaminski said the fact that construction on Phase 2 of the one-site hospital is on time and on budget has put a permanent smile on her face.
"It's not normal to take 10 years (with a hospital construction project), but there's nothing about this project that has been normal. But I think when we open the building people will see it was worth it."
Now Kaminski has to ensure that the hospital is big enough to house all the patients. There are currently 507 hospital beds in Greater Sudbury, but with the move to the one-site hospital, there will only be 439.
The one-site hospital is being built without capacity for alternate level of care (ALC) patients, or those who no longer require acute care, but are in the hospital because they cannot find care in the community.
Sudbury Regional Hospital currently has a roster of 25 to 28 per cent ALC patients.
"We're working with our Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)'and other community partners so we can make sure that we have appropriate facilities available for long-term care patients and keep the hospital for acute care."
By HEIDI ULRICHSEN
Northern Ontario Business