By Mike Williscraft
It has been a very big week for West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
First, it was announced that provincial officials have given the green light to allow Hamilton Health Sciences to issue the tender for Stage 3’s design for the rebuild process.
Second, the air handler – the major component part of the immediate renovation work needed to get the facility’s operating rooms back online – has arrived and is set to be installed.
In 2019 the Ministry of Health (MoH) approved HHS’s working on both Stage 2 and Stage 3 simultaneously.
Stage 2 focuses on the development of the “Functional Program”, identifying how services will be situated and work together in the new building.
Staff and physician user groups are currently providing input on this planning work. Some of this work had to be deferred due to COVID-19. Teams will be engaged in the planning process as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.
It is expected that submission of Stage 2 documentation will go to the MoH in the late fall. HHS officials do not see this as a significant delay in the process.
Stage 3’s request for proposals for the planning, design and conformance team for the new build has been issued. Infrastructure Ontario will lead this process. The RFP, which was developed with support from the HHS team, was released in mid-April.
While combining stages to streamline processes is not unusual, the flow of approvals has been given expedited consideration by the provincial government.
“I’m so glad to see the work is continuing on the new hospital. It’s vitally important for our community,” said Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff.
“Seeing Hamilton Health Sciences work simultaneously on Stages 2 and 3 is an excellent step forward for the speedy completion of the project. I know everyone has worked very hard to get to this stage, and it couldn’t have happened without the incredible support and momentum of the residents who are served by the hospital.”
From HHS’s perspective, officials there are thankful for the support of the MoH.
“HHS’ Capital Planning team continues to work with Infrastructure Ontario, Ministry of Health, consultants, and other partners, to advance plans for the new hospital and remains on track,” said Kelly Campbell, HHS’s vice-president, corporate services and capital development.
“We have worked closely with government to develop a combined Stage 2/3 process to complete Stage 4 (Financial Close) by June 2022. With ongoing collaboration and support from everyone involved, we can achieve this goal. The flexibility, commitment and ongoing leadership provided by provincial and local government partners to support this work is appreciated.”
WLMH INFRASTRUCTURE RENOVATIONS
With Monday’s arrival of the air handler – a major piece of the renovation puzzle which had to be designed and built specifically for WLMH’s needs – the ongoing renovation project is on time and on budget, according to HHS officials.
The air handler has been placed on its concrete pad.
Visitor restrictions in the hospital have impacted some internal work associated with infrastructure projects.
Outside the building, contractors are reaching project milestones, including:
• Commissioning the cooling tower;
• Completing the wiring needed for the second generator;
• Planning for lab upgrades, and;
• Laying the concrete pad for the operating room (OR)/endoscopy area air handling unit.
Plans are in place to complete the second part of the lab infrastructure work the last week in May.
Work is underway to prepare for the OR/Endoscopy work (i.e., inventory of stock and equipment, emptying endoscopy rooms) with a review plans with the contractor ongoing.
There is also some work to complete in a few areas of the hospital- paint, light fixture upgrades, and millwork.
“The Action Committee is very pleased with HHS and Infrastructure Ontario fulfilling their commitment to rebuild our beloved hospital, which we need now more than ever,” said Tony Joosse, co-chair of the WLMH Action Committee.
“Under these unusual times, we’re pleased to see the air handler has arrived and this is key to getting back to two fully operational operating rooms in September, understanding with no clients we will need to build the traffic back up to full capacity. We hope HHS has staff in place to fill the expected need.”
As for the Stage 3 tender process getting underway, that is another key part of achieving the end goal, said Joosse.
“Seeing the confirmation of the tender call for design and conformance consulting services for the new WLMH is a key plank in the Stage 3,” said Joosse.
“This tender closes May 12th with the hope of an early award of the contract to ensure Phase 3 is taking place while HHS finishes stage 2. This is very important to get shovels in the ground which we are still hoping for Fall of 2021.”