The official grand opening is still a number of months away, but several departments at the new Rimbey Hospital are already on the move and within the next week or so, long-term care patients will also be on the move.
“We’ll be opening the new area immediately. The only groups that will not be moving in right away are the offices of Community Health and Mental Health Services,” said Site Leader Judy Drabert. “They will be moving after we finish the renovations to the vacated part of the 1980 building, and after we demolish the 1949 and 1956 sections.”
Drabert said the entire project – including all landscaping should be completed in the early spring or summer of 2009, but in the mean time, the public is invited to come and take a look at the new hospital.
“Prior to moving patients in to the new hospital on Oct. 9, we will officially open the new hospital, and the old hospital will officially be closed, and we’ll be having a tour for the public and the media on Oct. 2 and 3,” she said.
In light of the construction boom in Alberta for the past few years, Drabert said the project ran as smoothly as expected and came in both on budget and near to on-schedule.
“This has been a really good project. I had anticipated there would be more concerns than I had but the public has been very patient and very understanding of all the building that has been going on around us,” Drabert said. “I am really excited about the opening. From the design to the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the new facility, we will find that it meets the needs of this community well.”
Project Manager Roger Capus said while the project ran smoothly, it was still difficult to provide all the requirements for the new hospital while staying within the budget.
“We received $20 million from the province and that’s for everything. That’s for the construction, design, consultant fees, furnishings, equipment and any other thing that we needed within the hospital,” Capus said. “It’s been a struggle because there are constant pressures on every job, but with the team approach we took, we maintained the budget. We do not want to go back and ask for more money because I know what the answer will be.”
Both Drabert and Capus agreed that strong cooperation in every aspect of the construction was key to the projects success including everyone from the architect to the contractors and the work was completed with little or no disruptions to the hospital.
With the addition of 2,200 more square feet than the current hospital, the new facility will feature 22 inpatient beds, 85 continuing-care beds nine emergency room beds and three more in ambulatory care as well as new procedure, x-ray/lab and labour and delivery rooms.
“It’s been a great project. It was a long time in the making in terms of getting governmental approval for the project, but the moment it was, we were able to get an architect and subsequently a contractor and they’ve both done a really good job,” said Lou Davidson, Vice-President of Capital Planning with the DTHR. “Any project that comes in on-budget and on-schedule is a success in my mind and this one has achieved both of those.”
Davidson said while the health region is currently working on, or has recently completed several other construction projects, the new Rimbey Hospital is, by far, the largest in a number of years and one of the biggest government-funded projects in rural Alberta.
Public and media tours of the new hospital will be held once in the morning, twice in the afternoon and once in the early evening on both Oct, 2 and 3. For more information on the tours, please contact the hospital at 843-2271.