Community invited to celebrate new beginning for Penticton hospital

It’s been a long time coming, but work has finally begun on the expansion to Penticton Regional Hospital.

Site preparation work for the new tower at Penticton Regional Hospital is now underway and planners are throwing a party to celebrate.

Site preparation work for the new tower at Penticton Regional Hospital is now underway and planners are throwing a party to celebrate.

It’s been a long time coming, but work has finally begun on the expansion to Penticton Regional Hospital.

An official groundbreaking is expected to be held next week, and the public is invited to a special celebration on July 12 to mark the start of construction on the $312.5-million project and Cherry Lane Shopping Centre from 1 to 3 p.m.

Project officials and staff from the South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Medical Foundation will be on hand to outline details of the new six-storey patient care tower at PRH and other aspects of the project. Enjoy a piece of free cake and write your own inspirational message on a “Chat Head” to be posted at Cherry Lane.

Janice Perrino, executive-director of the SOS Medical Foundation, praised Cherry Lane for becoming a community hub for information about the PRH expansion.

“This shows how this is truly a project that the whole regional community can take pride in,” she said. “The hospital expansion impacts every resident in the entire South Okanagan-Similkameen.”

Site preparation work for the new tower is now underway. The tower is expected to be ready to accept patients in early 2019 when work will begin on Phase 2, an expansion of the PRH emergency department to almost four times its current size.

The tower will be located on much of the hospital’s existing parking lot. It will include 84 single-bed patient rooms, an ambulatory care centre featuring outpatient services such as cardiology, neurology, orthopaedics, maternal/child clinics, plus five operating rooms, six minor procedure rooms and more.

Extended space is available for the UBC Faculty of Medicine program, as well as a helipad.

A 480-stall parkade will be built adjacent to the tower. During the construction period, patient parking will be available on the southern side of the hospital, with vehicle access off Industrial Avenue.

The Medical Foundation is continuing their $20-million fundraising program to buy equipment for the new tower.