The Ministry of Health and Wellness is looking to facilitate partial reoccupation of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St. James before the end of this year.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, during a ceremony at the hospital on Friday (January 6) to hand over four ambulances, valued approximately $12 million each, which the Government has provided for the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA).
“This year, sometime, more [towards] the latter part than the earlier part for sure, we want to try to occupy part of the building… and we are going to work towards that. It is not going to be [all sections], but we want to try and occupy, at least, parts,” he told journalists.
Consequently, the Minister added, “we’ll have to step up in terms of the pace [of the hospital’s rehabilitation]”, pointing out that there will be some transitioning over the next [few] months, to another contractor for the final phase.”
Dr. Tufton indicated that the team handling the procurement of materials and designs is working assiduously to ensure that there are no further delays with the project.
The current phase of the rehabilitation is being done by M and M Construction at a cost of $1.7 billion.
Dr. Tufton, who toured the hospital along with CRH and WRHA executives, pointed out that “the biggest challenge, having secured the integrity of the structure, is now to ensure that the finer details of the internals are done.”
“I would love to see that happening. I know it’s a lot of burden for the project management team. But we are going to try and work towards it [phased reoccupation], because the people have waited long and I think they deserve access. But it will look and feel and have the utility of a new building,” he said.
The Minister also noted that the hospital’s staff are pleased with the pace of the work taking place.
“A lot of work as gone on to get us to the point where we are doing some external work. The staff are generally pleased with the work that is happening. The integrity of the structure is being strengthened, as is the case with this component of the contract, and the walls are being sanitised and replaced,” he said.
Dr. Tufton outlined that later this year the final phase of works on the facility will commence “where the internals are going to be put in.”
This aspect, he informed, will include ward and office space, and lighting, adding that “I am very pleased with what is happening and very confident that we are on the right track.”
Dr. Tufton assured that the current phase of the project is being completed within budget, while indicating that the cost for the final segment is being worked out.
For his part, Project Manager, Vivian Gordon, told journalists that the contractor has been “working very hard to put things in place to stabilise the structure.”
He added that the contractor has been “doing all the new construction that was necessary to ensure that the spaces function well when the final phase is done.”
Further, Mr. Gordon said, “to ensure that all the roofs and all the openings are properly sealed so that the space is more functional and the issues that happened before with water intrusion have been remedied.”
The estimated timeline for the CRH rehabilitation project’s completion is December 2024.