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Completion date on health facility pushed back to 2015

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Maple Creek

Due to setbacks over the summer, the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility won’t be operational until the spring of 2015.

Cypress Health Region reported last week there are now two different timelines being followed – one for the hospital and one for long-term care. Work on the universal care area and part of acute care will be completed for Jan. 5, and work on the long-term care facility and remainder of acute care will be finished by March 2.

But this doesn’t mean the facility will be functional following completion either, noted Scott Matthies, director of project change management for Cypress Health Region.

“It doesn’t mean we’re going to be open for business in those areas, it just means that that part of the facility is turned over to the region, then we can begin outfitting it and getting it ready for service,” he explained.

This will include bringing in equipment and furnishings, completing staff orientations, and having safety and commissioning work completed.

“We’re working on what a safe move plan would look like – both for our staff and for patients and residents in long-term care – and getting that move plan in place,” Matthies stated.

This could take four to six weeks after the health region gains access to the finished facility, he said.

A lack of available electricians resulted in construction progress slowing down over the summer.

“It’s been a long, hard road getting the manpower here,” said site project manager Bobby Hart, adding projects across the province have felt pressure from the shortage, including a new hospital project in Moose Jaw.

The number of electricians on site was able to grow from 12 to 42. However, the shortage resulted in a loss of time that could not be recovered to meet the November completion date.

But Hart is confident the new timeline will be sufficient.

“The dates that we’ve given now are very reflective of the manpower we have on site, and those dates are very, very achievable,” he said.

In the last month, work has been progressing well in the universal care and acute care platform. Flooring continues to be installed, walls are being painted and vinyl wallboards, doors and windows are being put in the rooms.

The long-term care wings are each at different stages of completion, with drywall still being completed in some areas and others now having flooring and painting done.

On the exterior, topsoil is being put in, and sod for the courtyards is arriving this week. Fencing still needs to be installed, as well as signage. The roof flashing is expected to be done by the end of the month.

X-ray and lab equipment will soon be arriving and are expected to be installed in November.

Graham Construction Superintendent Cy Grenier noted once work on the universal care side is nearly done, workers will move over to the long-term care side to drive progress forward there.

Having the appropriate number of tradespeople on site now has helped boost productivity and morale, Hart said.

“Everything just picked up and started smoothing a little better,” Grenier added. “You can just see the progress.”

Trent Regier, director of rural health for Cypress Health Region, said the health region is unsure how the new timelines for completion will affect the move for staff, patients and residents.

“With the two completion dates, we have not decided yet if we’re going to do a one-phase move or a two-phase move,” he said.

Moving hospital services into the new facility upon completion of the universal care wing in January isn’t completely out of the question. But it may be decided the best option is to move hospital staff and services and long-term care staff and residents in after the whole project is complete in the spring.

“We’re still waiting on some information from the general contractor on how they would secure the two wings so that we could make sure that staff and patient safety isn’t affected,” Regier said of possibly moving hospital services over before the long-term care facility is complete. “If we could safely, effectively and efficiently open in two stages… that could be a possibility.”

The answer to that should be known before the end of the month, he added.

Because there are staffing changes taking place at the new facility, employees whose positions will be affected were given different options – to take on a new position, take reduced hours or accept a severance package if they qualified. According to Regier, a lot of staff have decided to stay in their current positions or take on a new role at the new facility.

“We might have some housekeepers that will become (continuing care aids), we may have some CCAs that will become housekeepers,” he said. “I think there’s only been a couple individuals that chose to take different employment in different locations within the health region.”

He expects the staff roster for the new facility will be finalized by mid-November.

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