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New hospital for Terrace gets greenlight

Health Minister Adrian Dix
Health Minister Adrian Dix

The business plan for a new state-of-the-art Mills Memorial hospital has been completed and approved by the provincial project.

“This is an exciting time for people in Terrace and area, as we are delivering on the goal of a modern, bigger hospital that will be part of a network of care in the North that will have more beds and up-to-date technology to improve patients’ care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in Terrace Tuesday. “The new facility will support the public health-care needs of local residents, as well as people in nearby communities, for decades to come.”

The new Mills Memorial Hospital will serve as the Northwest region’s level-three trauma and inpatient surgery centre, providing immediate assessment, resuscitation, surgery and intensive care for injured patients. Currently, the hospital is a level-five trauma centre, meaning patients are stabilized on-site before being transported elsewhere.

The 78-bed hospital is expected to be more than twice the size of the current facility, going from 11,610 square metres (124,969 square feet), to approximately 26,400 square metres (284,000 square feet). It will feature private rooms, an expanded emergency department including two trauma bays, six stretcher bays, pediatric care space and four operating rooms, as well as the latest diagnostic imaging equipment.

Mental health service delivery will be brought up to modern standards with a new and larger Seven Sisters regional mental health facility being built on hospital grounds. There will be 25 beds at the new building, an increase from 20, as well as natural lighting and access to outdoor spaces for patients.

The mental health facility is expected to open in fall 2020. The new Mills Memorial Hospital will also see an improvement in mental health services, with 20 of the 78 beds dedicated to adult inpatient psychiatric care.

The project cost of $447.5 million will be shared between the provincial government through Northern Health and the North West Regional Hospital District, which is contributing $110.2 million.

The new Mills Memorial will be built at the north end of the current hospital grounds and is expected to open in 2024. Demolition of the existing facility will follow to make way for more parking and landscaping.

Northern Health led the business planning process in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, the North West Regional Hospital District and various partners, including the First Nations Health Authority, Kitsumkalum Band, Kitselas Band and Nisga’a Lisims Government.

“We are excited to see that the tremendous amount of work that has been underway has now resulted in this announcement,” said Barry Pages, chair, North West Regional Hospital District. “The North West Regional Hospital District Board has been committed to partnering with the Province and Northern Health Authority to see this project become a reality, to strengthen our existing services and to allow for increased health care closer to home for all Northwest residents.”

Business planning finalizes details such as scope, budget and procurement model.

The next step is the procurement process, followed by construction.

The project will be design-build, in which a contractor designs and builds the facility to meet standards and performance requirements specified by the health authority.

The health authority will retain ownership throughout construction and will be responsible for maintaining the facility over its lifespan.

Mills Memorial Hospital will be planned to an energy-efficiency level above the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard.

Opened in 1961, the 44-bed Mills Memorial Hospital is outdated in space and functionality.