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STAT: next steps for new Dawson Creek hospital

Three candidates have been shortlisted for the request for proposal for the new Dawson Creek Hospital.
Dawson Creek and District Hospital.

Three candidates have been shortlisted for the request for proposal for the new Dawson Creek Hospital.

"People in Dawson Creek are closer to having a preferred proponent to design and build the new Dawson Creek and district hospital," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "This announcement means people and families are closer to seeing what the hospital will look like, to construction starting and to the new hospital opening for patients."

Northern Health requested and received proposals from four vendors, of which three were shortlisted. The proponents for this stage of the procurement process, the design-early works agreement (DEWA), are:

* Clark Builders-Turner-HDR Architecture;

* SBW-Kinetic-Wright Construction with KRA and Gibbs Gage Architects; and

* Graham Design Builders and Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.

An RFP for the DEWA was issued to the shortlisted teams on March 16, 2021. At the end of the RFP process, one proponent will be selected. That proponent is expected to be announced this fall.

A DEWA is a contractual agreement between the design builder and Northern Health, which will start the design phase for the new hospital. The final decision for the build is anticipated in 2022, subject to successful negotiations on the project cost.

"The selection of a proponent for the DEWA is an important step in the development of a new hospital in Dawson Creek," said Colleen Nyce, board chair, Northern Health. "We look forward to the health service improvements this development will provide for people living in Dawson Creek and the surrounding First Nations communities."

Construction is expected to begin in late 2022. The new hospital is expected to open in 2026.

The new hospital will be located on the territory of Treaty 8 First Nations and will be approximately 25% larger than the current hospital. It will be approximately 19,400 square metres (209,000 square feet) with 70 beds, for an increase of 24 beds. The new emergency department will also increase in size, with treatment spaces increasing from 10 to 15.

"It will be a game changer for people who need mental health care that we're developing the Dawson Creek hospital with them front of mind," said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "Together, we're building a system where treatment for mental health is on par with any other health condition. I'm grateful to everyone involved in making this a reality."

Local First Nations will be consulted throughout the project to ensure culturally appropriate space is available within the new facility, which will also include a non-denominational spiritual room for use by people of all faiths and cultures. The new facility will include space for a laboratory and diagnostic imaging, and a perinatal unit including labour, delivery recovery and post-partum rooms and a nursery to support new parents and families.

Mental health service delivery will be brought up to modern standards with a new inpatient suite and an increase of 15 to 18 beds. The new hospital will continue to provide a range of surgical services as well as chemotherapy, ambulatory care, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.

"Residents of the South Peace and the entire Peace River Regional District will benefit from an expanded hospital built to modern standards with the capability of delivering the health services they need," said Brad Sperling, chair, Peace River Regional Hospital District. "This partnership between the Peace River Regional Hospital District, Northern Health and the provincial government will provide an increase in capacity and a vital extension to the health services available to Peace River Regional District residents."

The project budget of almost $378 million will be shared by the provincial government, through Northern Health, and the Peace River Regional Hospital District, which will contribute more than $150 million. The existing hospital will remain operational during the construction of the new hospital.