Work on upgrades at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital is set to begin later this month.
Phase two of construction will involve a renovated emergency department and intensive care unit.
The B.C. minister of health, Adrian Dix, said this project is part of a larger plan to modernize hospitals across the region.
“Our hospitals, especially in the Interior, were built in the 50s and 60s,” he said. “This project is of significant importance. It brings G.R. Baker in some ways into the 21st century.”
A news release outlined that the project will see the emergency and intensive care departments renovated and connected.
Dix said the new space will improve patient privacy, security and access to imaging and labs.
“The need for a link between those units in any hospital is important,” Dix said. “What used to be dealt with in an emergency room and what’s dealt with now can be different things. What we value is different as well.”
The contract for the second phase of construction was awarded to True Construction, a company based out of Kamloops.
The 1,550-square-metre project is expected to cost $27 million, with 40 per cent of the funding supplied by the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD).
“Once it’s done, it will be, for everyone working there and everyone in Quesnel, a source of pride,” Dix said. “It should be a source of pride because they contributed to it.”
Quesnel Mayor and CCRHD Chair Bob Simpson gave his thoughts on the project in a news release.
“Both the CCRHD and the City of Quesnel are very excited to see this long-awaited hospital expansion project get started in earnest,” he said. “The new ICU and ER will improve health care service delivery for the North Cariboo by creating a more modern, efficient and effective space for both health care workers and their patients.”
Dix said the project was driven by health care leaders in Quesnel.
“If you’re going to continue to attract doctors, you need state-of-the-art equipment and a state-of-the-art emergency room and a state-of-the-art ICU,” he said. “Health care workers have worked their guts out for us during this [COVID-19] pandemic.”
The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.
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