Anyone visiting the regional hospital in Trail for the first time in a few months may be taken aback by the monumental changes underway.
“Construction is progressing well, the addition to the existing hospital is really starting to take shape,” began Jane Cusden, health service administrator for Kootenay Boundary.
Where the front entrance and time-limited parking stalls used to be, are the bones of an extension that, by next year, will be a two-story addition with the emergency department (ED) downstairs and the ambulatory care and pharmacy units above.
This new wing was originally planned to be single-story space for the ED during this initial phase of re-development, and its expected date of completion was slated for the spring of 2020.
But a hiccup to the $19-million job at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) has delayed construction by several months, and project developers are proposing second story construction now, rather than later.
“An unanticipated rock layer was found during excavation that was not discovered in the original geotechnical survey,” Cusden explained.
“This meant that shoring piles needed to be installed through an alternate technique that required a different drilling machine to stay within the safe vibration limit for the existing buildings,” she told the Trail Times.
“This delayed things by a few months so the ED completion is now expected later in the summer. Timing will also be impacted by the addition of a second floor and a connecting bridge to the old hospital, which is a change to the original project scope.”
To avoid construction rework, and for budget, schedule and contract management efficiency, Cusden says the second floor core and shell scope are being pursued under the ED construction contract as a Change Order.
“Doing the projects at the same time will save considerable time in the overall duration of construction at the hospital,” she said.
To clarify, Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy was at KBRH in February this year to announce the province’s $23-million commitment for Phase 2 upgrades. That pot of funding was to include the build of new ambulatory care wing above the emergency department once the addition was completed.
In short, Interior Health is proposing to meld the two stages into one, and incorporate second-story space for the pharmacy now, as well.
While there have been no recent interruptions to KBRH services during this structural phase of work, as construction progresses, there will be changes to where visitors can enter the facility and certain hospital operations will be provisionally affected.
“The addition to the existing hospital is the largest construction portion of the two projects,” said Cusden. “At various points the new building has to be linked with services such as water, gas, hydro, etc., alongside the upgrades to major mechanical and electrical infrastructure to support the new build.”
Communities serviced by KBRH will be notified when further changes to the access, and walkway, come into play.
As the grounds are an active construction zone in the foreseeable future, Cusden advises patients and visitors to allow a bit of extra time when coming to the hospital.
She also reminds visitors that Interior Health continues to have a shuttle vehicle available for anyone who needs or wants help getting from the parking areas to the walkway leading to the entrance.
“We’d like to thank our patients, visitors, physicians and staff for their ongoing patience as these major improvements move forward,” Cusden said.
“These projects will benefit residents from across the Kootenay Boundary for decades to come.”
The new ambulatory care will give an updated and dedicated space for minor surgeries where patients generally will have their procedure and go home the same day.
Two new trauma bays will be created in the ED addition, as well as five fast-track examination spaces, one consult room, a procedure room, a covered ambulance area and a new electrical system.
Existing spaces will be upgraded to include an upgraded airborne isolation room and contamination room, and seven redeveloped urgent care treatment bays.