PENTICTON – A new patient care tower will be built at Penticton Regional Hospital following the approval by the provincial government of a business plan submitted by Interior Health.

“As Penticton continues to grow, so does the demand on services Penticton families rely on, including the hospital. We committed to moving forward with a new patient care tower, and today we’re moving forward,” said Premier Christy Clark. “This is a crucial step in the right direction.”

The Penticton Regional Hospital Patient Care Tower will include approximately 26,700 square metres (287,500 square feet) of new health care facilities. This project will significantly improve access to services, and improve patient care through the consolidation of programs currently distributed throughout the hospital.

“This new tower will form the cornerstone of the expansion of patient care services in the South Okanagan-Similkameen, and will support the province in meeting demand projections and setting the stage for excellence in affordable, public health care service delivery,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will now be prepared seeking qualified companies to design, build, finance and maintain the new tower. The RFQ is expected to be released later this summer. Following evaluation of responses to the RFQ, up to three companies will be shortlisted and invited to submit responses to a Request for Proposals. A successful proponent will be selected from that process. The entire procurement process will take approximately 18 months to complete.

“This project is first and foremost about building patient care in the South Okanagan-Similkameen,” said Dan Ashton, Penticton MLA. “This project has been my top priority and I am pleased that it will be designed from a patient-focused perspective, with extensive input from clinical staff.”

The Penticton Regional Hospital Project will be constructed in two phases. Phase one will include the construction of a new patient care tower. The tower will have a new walk-in care centre, surgical services centre, 84 medical/surgical inpatient beds in single patient rooms, a new medical device reprocessing unit, and space for the UBC Faculty of Medicine Program.

Phase two will involve the renovation of vacated areas in the current hospital to allow the expansion of the emergency department into a space almost four times the size of the current department, as well as renovations to existing support areas of pharmacy, laundry and materiel (supplies and equipment) stores. The construction of the new tower and renovations to the existing building will take about three and a half years.

“Healthy and green buildings will enhance patient care by providing better health outcomes, a better environment for staff and patients, and maximization of energy efficiency,” said Norman Embree, Interior Health board chair.

The total budget for the project is $325 million. It will be funded jointly by the provincial government, with $122 million provided by the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District and $20 million provided by the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. It is expected to create more than 1910 jobs for workers over the life of the project.

“This is tremendous news for everyone living in the South Okanagan and Similkameen,” said RHD Chair Janice Perrino. “As partners with the Provincial Government and the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation in this vital project, we look forward to working with the communities to make the hospital expansion a reality. The day will come when we can all celebrate as a region the opening of our patient care tower which will provide excellent health-care for decades to come.”

The patient care tower will be efficiently-designed and user-friendly. It will support staff and physician recruitment by offering the opportunity for medical professionals to work in a newly-designed clinical environment that will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified.