Mindemoya Hospital construction progressing well, say MHC officials

Manitoulin Health Centre officials indicated how pleased they are with the constructions taking place after hearing a presentation by representatives of Belanger Salach Architecture at a board meeting last week.

MINDEMOYA – Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) officials are very pleased with how construction on the emergency department area of the Mindemoya Hospital is progressing.

“Everything has been very positive, and the contractors have kept us up to date on construction,” said Paula Fields, MHC co-chief executive officer and vice-president of clinical services, told members of the MHC board at a meeting last week. A presentation was provided to the board by Taylor Kreps and Louis Belanger of Belanger Salach Architecture. 

“The nursing team was visiting in the space today and there was a lot of excitement, as they can visualize how things are going to look,” said Ms. Fields. “The construction work is meeting expectations and the additional space is a game changer in how the emergency department is going to run.” 

Taylor Kreps told the board at the zoom meeting, “we are here tonight to provide a rundown on the construction to date. Construction began in June this summer and we are basically six months into the project.” She pointed out excavation and exterior framing work has been done and work is continuing on the interior of the building, along with site work. The North evaluation siding is going up in a couple of weeks and the rear parking lot has been completed.

“Critical is the chemotherapy room work,” said Ms. Kreps. With the existing chemotherapy room having been decommissioned, the contractors are trying to minimize the down time so patients will be able to return to using the chemotherapy room at the Mindemoya hospital site, she explained. The work should be complete in the chemotherapy room by the end of January, with occupancy by the end of February.

Ms. Kreps pointed out one-third of the entire construction project has been completed. She explained the main floor emergency department is where the nursing station will be located and 33 percent of that work is complete. 

“Originally a date of July, 2022 had been set for the complete overall project completion,” said Ms. Kreps. However, she noted that this has been extended “by about another one and a half to two months.” The delay has been caused because of two main things, one being the amount of rain the area has received this year which delayed the outside work. “But the biggest reason is with the mechanical equipment air handling units. There has been a very long lead time (for getting this equipment). Our contractor has been working with the manufacturer on this and it is looking like mid-January they will be installed, and these units can then be up and running.”

At the beginning of the project, MHC had set aside a contingency fund of $488,000 of which only 17 percent has been used thus far, said Ms. Kreps. 

“Going forward, when you are undergoing renovations like this, every once in a while we will run into a glitch, but at this point we are satisfied with the construction schedule,” Ms. Kreps told the board.

“So far we’re happy with the status of the construction, but there are always things that need to be tweaked,” said Ms. Kreps. As well, she noted with the new implementation of pandemic protocols with the MHC, anyone working on the site has been fully vaccinated and screening is taking place as well. “Everyone is doing their part.” 

“I was at the site on Wednesday and things will be further accelerated as the framing goes on (the building),” said Tim Vine, co-ceo of MHC. “It’s going to be a big space, but I’m excited about how it looks and hopefully the clinicians will be as excited and hopefully it will meet all their needs.” 

“I am amazed at the size of the windows and the natural light that will be in the family department area. It will be beautiful to have all of this natural light,” added Ms. Fields.

The in total 2,700 square-foot-extension to the emergency department will feature a better line of sight to patient areas from the nursing station, a larger chemotherapy suite, greater confidentiality during visits and a dedicated mental health observation area.