Construction begins on North Bay Regional Health Centre project



    NORTH BAY, ON, March 24 /CNW/ - Construction started today at the new
388-bed North Bay Regional Health Centre to provide residents from North Bay
and surrounding communities with improved access to quality health care,
announced George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, at a
groundbreaking ceremony with Nipissing MPP Monique Smith.
    "The construction of the North Bay Regional Health Centre is important to
everyone in the region and I'm so proud to see construction underway," said
MPP Monique Smith. "We are proud that our hospital will be a state-of-the-art
facility that will continue to play a vital role in providing health care and
treatment to the residents of our region."
    "I'm pleased to join my colleague Monique Smith to put the first shovels
in the ground as we launch construction to modernize the North Bay hospital to
bring even greater access to health care for local residents," said
Smitherman.
    Smitherman joined Smith, North Bay General Hospital and Northeast Mental
Health Centre officials and representatives from Plenary Health to officially
launch the construction project. Plenary Health was selected as the preferred
team to build, finance and maintain the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2010.
    As a three-storey general hospital, the new North Bay Regional Health
Centre's redevelopment project will be significantly larger and equipped to
offer more services than the present two-site operation. It will also include
the new Northeast Mental Health Centre, a two-storey facility that will
recreate a home-like, village environment.

    
    Services at the new hospital will include:
      -  A larger emergency department with 32 treatment beds
      -  A consolidated ambulatory care centre
      -  Capacity for up to 275 acute care, complex continuing care,
         rehabilitation and acute mental health beds.
    

    The new Northeast Mental Health Centre, which will be linked to the
general hospital, will have capacity for up to 113 specialized mental health
beds and serve all of northeast Ontario.
    "I would like to thank our hospital staff, volunteers, fundraisers and
the community for their generous donations and support for this project," said
Mark Hurst, North Bay General Hospital President and CEO. "This truly is a
celebration for us. We are looking forward to this project being completed and
our one-site hospital being available for all members of our community."
    Plenary Health will be paid $551 million in today's dollars over 30 years
to build, finance and maintain the new 720,000 square foot facility. Just over
half of that represents the pure construction cost. During the three-year
construction period, the project will employ an average of 200 workers on site
daily.
    Infrastructure Ontario will work with the North Bay General Hospital and
the Northeast Mental Health Centre to manage the construction of the North Bay
Regional Health Centre, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled
and publicly accountable. Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown corporation
dedicated to managing some of the Province's larger and more complex
infrastructure renewal projects - ensuring they are built on time and on
budget.
    The project is guided by principles outlined in the Province's Building a
Better Tomorrow framework, which ensures public ownership of core assets such
as hospitals, schools and water and wastewater facilities. The North Bay
Regional Health Centre project is one of many infrastructure projects being
constructed, upgraded and modernized under ReNew Ontario, the government's
five-year, $30-billion plus public infrastructure investment plan.

    Visit www.infrastructureontario.ca for more information.

    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
    

    The North Bay Regional Health Centre is a partnership between the North
Bay General Hospital and the Northeast Mental Health Centre. For the first
time in Canada, an acute hospital and a specialized mental health centre will
co-locate on the same site.
    The North Bay General Hospital (NBGH) and its predecessors have served
the families of North Bay and the surrounding area for over 100 years. The
North Bay General Hospital is a district referral centre serving the districts
of Nipissing and Temiscaming. NBGH's Emergency Department and outpatient
clinics serve more than 40,000 patients every year. Specialist services such
as orthopedics, neonatal intensive care, paediatrics, ophthalmology,
obstetrics/gynaecology, urology, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and general
surgery are provided for patients from throughout the entire district served.
    The Northeast Mental Health Centre (NEMHC) is a specialized mental health
centre that provides service to people throughout the region of northeast
Ontario suffering from severe and persistent mental illness. Based on a
recovery approach, NEMHC works with other service providers and patients and
their families in the design and implementation of care. Programs include
specialized adult mental health, senior's mental health, forensic psychiatry,
outreach programs and a regional children's psychiatric service.
    As a three-storey general hospital, the new NBGH's redevelopment will be
significantly larger and equipped to offer more services than the present
two-site operation. The Northeast Mental Health Centre has been designed as a
two-storey facility that will provide a best-practice approach to care in a
home-like, village environment. One of the largest public sector projects in
the region's history, the NBRHC will total 720,000 square feet of new
construction on an 80-acre site.

    
    The New North Bay General Hospital includes:

      -  a larger emergency department with 32 treatment beds to accommodate
         more than 57,000 patients per year
      -  a new consolidated ambulatory care centre to accommodate more than
         63,000 patient visits per year
      -  275 acute care beds with:
           -  a 40-bed mental health unit relocated from the Northeast Mental
              Health Centre
           -  an increased bed capacity in the Critical Care Unit (from 10 to
              16 beds), in the Complex Continuing Care Unit (from 10 to 42
              beds), and in the Rehabilitation Care unit (from 10 to 29 beds)

    The New Northeast Mental Health Centre

    The new Northeast Mental Health Centre will be linked to the general
hospital via a shared entrance and several shared common areas. It will serve
the whole of northeast Ontario, and accommodate:

      -  52 forensic psychiatry beds
      -  61 specialized mental health beds
      -  a client services mall, gymnasium, workshops, psychiatric offices,
         clinical and administrative spaces
      -  outreach services
    

    Design features provide a healing atmosphere throughout the facility with
lots of natural light provided by windows that overlook the natural
environmental setting of the 80-acre site. The North Bay Regional Health
Centre will have a total of 388 beds.
    Over North Bay Regional Health Centre's three-year construction period,
there will be an average of 200 workers on site daily.

    Disponible en français





For further information:

For further information: Amy Tang, Minister's Office, Public
Infrastructure Renewal, (416) 325-4048; David Spencer, Minister's Office,
Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 327-4320; Pat Stephens, North Bay Regional
Health Centre, (705) 495-8127; Doug DeRabbie, Infrastructure Ontario, (416)
326-1006


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