The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) expects the new Women’s Hospital to be open to patients as of fall of 2019, three years later than the original projected opening of fall of 2016.
The 388,000 sq. foot facility is the largest health care capital project in Manitoba’s history according to WRHA interim president Real Cloutier.
“While the revised timeline is regrettable, it is necessary to deliver a completed project able to provide excellent patient care,” Cloutier said in a release.
Most of the construction is expected to be finished in just under a year from now, but the WRHA said it will need a year from that date to install equipment, test systems and train staff.
The health authority attributed the delayed opening to challenges that slowed construction including the collapse of shoring on Sherbrook Street in 2012 and a fire in the Diagnostic Centre of Excellence in 2013 that affected infrastructure connected to the new hospital.
Shared Health chief financial officer Glenn McLennan also said there were major delays to electrical work in the building, after one of the original electrical subcontractors went bankrupt.
“So they had to find a replacement organization to come in, and find out where the previous company had left off,” said McLennan.
Still, the WRHA said the delayed project will remain on budget at $232.9 million, without any extra cost to taxpayers.
“When we sign a contract with a general contractor to do a job, it’s for a fixed price,” said Cloutier.
“And this is the product we want. If it takes a bit more time to get the project done, we accept that.”
The new date means many expectant mothers, like Natalya Weaver-Swanink, will continue to have their babies delivered at the current Women’s Hospital on Notre Dame Avenue.
Weaver-Swanink told CTV News she’d heard great things about the new hospital and was disappointed to learn it wouldn’t be open in time for her baby’s March due date.
“I think they have more private rooms at the new Women’s Hospital. I mean a lot of people would prefer to have a private room,” said Weaver-Swanink.
Weaver-Swanink chose the current Women’s Hospital over St. Boniface because she was delivered there herself, and her doctor works through the facility’s outpatient clinic.
“Everyone’s really nice. They really want to help support you and your baby,” said Weaver-Swanink.
That support is what Weaver-Swanink said ultimately mattered, and not whether her baby is delivered at an old or new facility.
“Wherever she’s born, as long as she’s healthy I’m fine.”
Published at Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:43:00 -0500