A construction milestone that brings the Penticton Regional Hospital another step closer to enhancing care in the region was celebrated on Friday.
With the concrete phase of the David E. Kampe Tower now complete, the structural-steel phase underway and the overall tower construction approaching the halfway point, residents can look forward to the tower opening its doors to patients in spring 2019.
As part of the ceremony, staff, physicians, volunteers and community members were invited to sign their name on a structural-steel beam, a permanent and visible reminder of the support local residents have shown for this project. To conclude the ceremony, the eight-foot steel beam, covered in signatures, was hoisted and placed into its permanent location in the David E. Kampe Tower.
“What’s great about what’s happened in this region in the whole South Okanagan and Penticton and everywhere else, is a commitment from the whole community to the project,” B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said. “That’s what it requires. If there’s any sense of division, it’s very hard to get these things done. And they’ve just done an exceptional job, and I’m very proud to be here today as minister of health.”
The David E. Kampe Tower is Phase 1 of the $312.5-million Penticton Regional Hospital Patient Care Tower project. At six storeys and approximately 26,155 square metres (281,530 square feet), the tower is designed to make accessing services easier for patients by bringing programs currently dispersed throughout the hospital into one convenient location.
It will bring a new ambulatory care centre, five new operating rooms, a rooftop helipad and space to allow the UBC faculty of medicine program to expand. It will also bring the area an additional 84 single-patient rooms, each with its own washrooms, intended to improve infection control and provide patients and their families with a quiet and private space for recovery.
“Today we are celebrating much more than a building — we are celebrating the people that worked hard to make this project possible,” said Dr. Doug Cochrane, Interior Health board chair. “I’d like to thank all of the staff, physicians, and volunteers who have dedicated their skill and commitment to enhancing patient care at Penticton Regional Hospital.”
Beyond what the tower will bring in terms of health care in the community, Dix said the project could bring more people and more jobs to the South Okanagan.
“The hospital’s absolutely important to the community. It’s very hard to sell a community if you don’t have excellent health care,” Dix said. “Here in Penticton, we’re going to be able to present the community and business in a better way.”
The completion of the tower will mean better patient flow and access to services, and a new permanent MRI and nuclear medicine program. The new tower will also support staff and physician recruitment, retention and education by offering the opportunity for medical professionals to work in a state-of-the-art clinical environment.
“This milestone is in recognition of all the good work people have done throughout the community to support this project,” said Carey Bornn, executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. “I’d like to thank all of our donors for their generous contributions to provide state-of-the-art medical equipment for the new tower.”
Following completion of the tower, Phase 2 of the project will begin. Phase 2 includes renovations to vacated areas in the existing hospital to allow for an expanded emergency department in a space almost four times the size of the current department, plus renovations for support areas of pharmacy, stores and laundry.
Dix said so far the tower project is on time and on budget.
“I think we’re getting better at building hospitals, and that’s a good thing. And we need to be, because there’s a lot of demand for that in the Interior.”