Penticton hospital project heads to proposals

Penticton’s new hospital tower could be a public-private partnership and break ground in late 2015

Penticton’s new hospital tower could be a public-private partnership and break ground in late 2015, according to bid documents issued Wednesday by Interior Health.

The health authority issued separate requests for proposals for electrical, mechanical and architectural consulting services that will help planners develop a business case for the proposed patient care tower.

All three RFPs include a preliminary project schedule that indicates the business case should be complete and submitted to the B.C. government for approval by the end of January 2014, with sign-off from the province expected by May 2014.

If all that goes according to plan, private-sector partners would then be invited to bid to design, build, finance and maintain the tower. The winning consortium would be selected in mid-2015, with construction slated to begin that fall.

The business case, which is expected to contain firm cost estimates and schedules, will build off a detailed concept plan completed in July 2012.

That plan calls for a five-storey tower with medical school on the bottom floor and a helipad on the roof. In between would be ambulatory care clinics, surgical suites, an oncology department and other services that are currently scattered throughout the existing hospital. A five-storey parkade next to the tower is also proposed.

All told, the tower is expected to boast 36,776 square metres of floor space. By comparison, Cherry Lane shopping centre has a retail area of about 25,000 square meters.

The RFPs also note that the construction cost of the hospital project is projected to be in the range of $150 million to $180 million.

Proponents have stated previously, however, that the cost to build and equip the tower will be closer to $300 million.

The Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District has committed to providing $120 million towards the total cost, while the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation has pledged another $20 million.