Physicians and staff at St. John Hospital are continuing to work on a new renovation plan for the facility after the original plans were deemed unworkable.
Renovations to the emergency and outpatients department have been on the cards for three years, with the funding finally being confirmed last fall. Three weeks ago however the plans went back to the drawing board.
A renovation committee which includes six members of staff from the hospital are holding weekly meetings to create preliminary sketches for a renovation that will meet the communities needs.
“We’re doing work ourselves on what will work best and then we’re taking back the preliminary sketch to the architect in about three weeks time,” said April Hughes, an administrator from Northern Health who is also sitting on the renovation committee.
“And then the architect will actually work on kind of refining the sketch that we’re going to provide and then we’ll have another meeting with the architect and the Northern Health Project Manager for capital planning and try and get the plans finalized,” she said.
Original plans for the hospital a number of years ago included an addition to the building. That idea was scraped as a result of cost and the soil structure in the area.
“A physical expansion would have been both cost prohibitive and there was some challenges with the soil structure around the facility,” said Hughes.
Plans since then looked into interior renovations in the existing space which also proved challenging.
“It is extremely difficult to do and keep the hospital running.
“And as much as everyone tried over an extended period of time we just finally came to the conclusion that the design we were coming up with…it just wasn’t meeting our needs here as a site,” said Hughes.
“We have to come up with a plan that makes sense to everybody before we can … go ahead,” she said.
Despite the delays to the interior renovations, a separate electrical upgrade at the hospital is currently underway.