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This article was published 26/2/2019 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The long-awaited new Women’s Hospital will finally open its doors in December, a Health Sciences Centre executive announced Tuesday.
HSC interim chief operating officer Ronan Segrave kicked off a tour of the nearly complete 388,500-square-foot facility by revealing the planned opening date as Dec. 1.
Though it was first scheduled to admit patients in 2014, the facility has been plagued by delays, including a Sherbrook Street shoring collapse in 2012, a fire at the Diagnostic Centre of Excellence in 2013 and the bankruptcy of an electrical subcontractor.
Despite the delays, the project is still on budget and will cost about $232 million, Segrave said.
"This has been an incredibly complex project," he said. "I think, as you’ve probably gathered from the tour today, this is a world-class facility that Manitoba will have for women and children.
He compared the complexity of the hospital unveiling to opening a nuclear power plant.
"Those are the kind of safety standards that you have to have in place," he said. "And so that attention to detail, making sure this hospital is really in a perfect condition to open... on the first of December, has been the absolute paramount responsibility of all of us."
A few dozen visitors, including hospital staff, media and elected officials, toured the five-floor facility Tuesday — a day after HSC officially got the keys from its general contractor, EllisDon.
Over the next nine months, workers will install equipment and furniture while staff undergoes training at the facility, located on the northwest corner of William Avenue and Sherbrook Street.
The new hospital’s patient capacity will be nearly the same as the 69-year-old Notre Dame Avenue facility that it is replacing, but will have more room for obstetrics services, said Lynda Tjaden, director of patient services for women’s health.
All of the In-patient rooms will be private, a request that came from community consultations, she said.
Other infrastructure bonuses include sanctuary and ceremony rooms for spiritual health, plus a relaxing rooftop garden — within a few hundred metres of HSC’s helicopter landing pad — on the fourth floor.
Hospital staff have already begun undertaking some major workplace changes before their move, pivoting to electronic filing systems instead of using paperwork.
"We wanted to make as many changes as we could ahead of time so that we’re not making big changes the day that we move into the new hospital," Tjaden said.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen and Status of Women Minister Rochelle Squires took in the tour.
"Obviously between now and then an enormous amount of work has to continue to get staff comfortable in this space, to start up equipment and to make sure that it’s functioning and that it’s calibrated correctly. So that work will continue," Friesen said.
"It’s an enormous undertaking. But I know that all Manitobans will benefit when we actually open the doors and come back here to commence operations on Dec. 1."
Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.