One year since start of construction on new health-care complex

ST. CATHARINES, ON, April 27 /CNW/ - Tomorrow officially marks the one year anniversary of the start of construction on the Niagara Health System's new health-care complex in west St. Catharines.

Construction of the long-awaited facility began following a celebration held on April 28, 2009, which included over 500 attendees. The ground was ceremonially broken by It's Our Time fundraising campaign patient heroes on excavators driven by operators from Walker Industries, Matt's Excavating, Rankin Construction and PCL Constructors.

PCL has held true to its commitment of supporting the local economy by working extensively with the local sub-trades, with the majority of on-site labour being conducted by tradespersons in the Golden Horseshoe area.

The first year of construction included many noteworthy accomplishments:

    
    -   Advanced clearing of the site due to favourable soil conditions;
    -   Completion of the building foundation and overall clinical design;
    -   Erection of half of the concrete structure;
    -   Installation of web cameras for progress monitoring;
    -   Mobilization of PCL's on-site construction offices;
    -   Building permits obtained from City of St. Catharines;
    -   Received permit from Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for
        construction of radiation suites; and
    -   Start of offsite fabrication of the building exterior.
    

Coincidentally, today marked the delivery of the first major mechanical equipment to service the new health-care complex with the placement of four chillers in the basement mechanical room. The chillers are components of the building's environmental management system which will chill the fluid used to cool the air in the new facility.

With a capacity of 900 tonnes, three of the units are 18 feet long, seven and a half feet wide and nine feet tall with an operating weight of 40,000 pounds each. The fourth is a 246 tonne unit that is 13 feet long, six feet wide and seven feet tall with an operating weight of 17,600 pounds.

To date, certain parts of the basement structure have been kept open, waiting for the installation of this critical equipment. A strong indicator of the project being on schedule is the fact that the chillers are being delivered to the day projected in planning and scheduling over the past 18 months.

Over the next few months the remaining concrete structure will take shape at a faster rate and construction will begin on some of the building's exterior.

Construction of the new health-care complex will be completed by the end of 2012. Following a four month transition stage including installation of new furniture and equipment, as well as extensive staff training, the health-care complex will open its doors to patients in 2013.

Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are working with the Niagara Health System and Plenary Health Niagara to build the new health-care complex, 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.

Visit nhs.plenaryprojects.com for more information and to view the web camera and monthly aerial images.

Quotes

Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure

"Reaching this significant milestone demonstrates the McGuinty government's commitment to delivering a modern health care facility that this community needs and deserves."

Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

"I am thrilled to see the project reach this milestone. This new hospital will further our strategy to lower wait times and improve access to care for the people in the Niagara region."

Hon. Jim Bradley, Member of Provincial Parliament, St. Catharines

"I am pleased to see the progress being made on our new hospital and the thousands of jobs that this project is generating in our community."

Debbie Sevenpifer, President and CEO, Niagara Health System

"We have been continually impressed by our partners at Plenary Health Niagara, including PCL and sub-trades who are committed to providing this project on schedule so that we are able to open the doors to patients in 2013."

Mike Marasco, Plenary Health CEO

"We are committed to the long-term success of our partnership with the NHS and look forward to providing the people of the Niagara region with a world-class facility for the delivery of acute health and cancer care."

    
    Backgrounder

                            NIAGARA HEALTH SYSTEM

    The Niagara Health System (NHS) consists of seven sites serving 434,000
residents across the 12 municipalities making up the Regional Municipality of
Niagara.

                           NEW HEALTH-CARE COMPLEX
    

The state-of-the-art health-care complex to be located at First Street and Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines will replace the aging St. Catharines General Site and Ontario Street Site (formerly the Hotel Dieu Hospital) and will provide new regional services never before available in Niagara, including treatments for cancer, heart disease and longer-term mental health disease.

The 970,000 square foot facility will include:

    
    -   The Walker Family Cancer Centre to provide close-to-home treatment
        for the more than 1,200 cancer patients who currently travel to
        Hamilton or Toronto for life-saving radiation treatment;
    -   A new Regional Longer-Term Mental Health Centre with longer-term
        inpatient mental health beds, combined with acute inpatient mental
        health beds and ambulatory care services for Niagara residents;
    -   A new Regional Cardiac Catheterization Centre to provide diagnostic
        investigation services, reducing hospitalizations for heart disease,
        lowering wait times and improving access to treatment;
    -   80 per cent single patient rooms, the most available in a community
        hospital in Ontario;
    -   Environmentally friendly design features resulting in LEED(R)
        certification as part of the government's commitment to reduce energy
        use and greenhouse gas emissions;
    -   CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) containment
        capability to deal with infectious outbreaks and disasters;
    -   More windows to enhance natural light in patients' rooms and public
        and staff areas;
    -   State-of-the-art operating suites designed to take advantage of
        sophisticated image-guided and laparoscopic surgery; and
    -   A patient focused site design with healing gardens, ponds and walking
        paths.
    

The community-based hospital of up to 375 beds will offer acute and critical inpatient services, surgical, emergency and ambulatory services available under one roof for the residents of St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the Lake and the area.

When the project is completed, Niagara will be home to one of the most up-to-date health care facilities in the province, with infrastructure to care for and treat the unique health needs of the Niagara region; ensuring care is provided to Niagarans in Niagara.

Visit nhs.plenaryprojects.com or www.infrastructureontario.ca for more information.

    
                         IMPORTANT CONSTRUCTION DATES

    ACTIVITY                                                          START
    FINANCIAL CLOSE                                              March 2009
    GROUNDBREAKING AND SITE MOBILIZATION                         April 2009
    SITE CLEARING AND TOPSOIL REMOVAL                              May 2009
    SITE SERVICING                                                June 2009
    BULK EXCAVATION                                               June 2009
    DEMOLITION                                                    July 2009
    CONCRETE STRUCTURE                                          August 2009
    CRANE INSTALLATION                                       September 2009
    BUILDING ENVELOPE                                              May 2010
    INTERIOR FINISHES                                             June 2010
    SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION                                    November 2012
    

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Infrastructure Ontario

For further information: For further information: Caroline-Bourque Wiley, Niagara Health System, (905) 378-4647 x43113; Jessica Hooker, Infrastructure Ontario, (416) 327-5325; Mike Marasco, Plenary Health, (604) 897-6933


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