Next phases of $1.5 billion expansion of New Westminster hospital moving forward

Jan 14 2021, 10:41 pm

Fraser Health Authority announced this week it has reached new major milestones to advance the second and third phases of the $1.49-billion project to renew and expand Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

A design-build agreement has been signed for phase two, and a construction management agreement has been signed for phase three with EllisDon.

Site preparation and various pre-construction work has begun ahead of the demolition of several older hospital buildings. Excavation also began this week on a temporary support building that will house the hospital’s support services during construction, with excavation for a new acute care tower to begin in early 2021.

“We are pleased to mark this important milestone with the signing of the design build and construction management agreements, enabling us to take next steps forward in phases two and three of the Royal Columbian redevelopment project,” said Fraser Health Authority president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee in a statement.

“Royal Columbian Hospital plays an integral role in our regional hospital network, ensuring people in our region have access to care for a wide range of health concerns. This project will ensure lifesaving services are available to people from across our region now and for many years to come.”

New Westminster Royal Columbian Hospital

Layout of the three-phase expansion at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

Phase two will add a new acute care tower with a new and expanded emergency department, as well as more maternity beds and a maternity operating room.

A single large interventional and surgical “super floor” will contain three more operating rooms, three more interventional suites for cardiology, two more interventional suites for diagnostic radiology, and one additional MRI.

This acute tower phase, which includes an underground parkade with about 350 vehicle stalls and a rooftop helipad, will reach completion in 2025.

royal columbian hospital

Condition of Royal Columbian Hospital before redevelopment. (Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation)

The third phase will be an expansion of the existing buildings to support the beds and services added in the second phase, including an expansion of support service areas such as laboratory, food, diagnostic, and medical imaging services, and the addition of one more MRI.

New integrated pediatric and neonatal intensive care units will be physically linked to the maternity unit in the new acute care tower to create one large floor dedicated to families spanning two buildings. The existing four-bed patient rooms in Columbia Tower will be converted into single or semi-private rooms for optimal patient outcomes.

The additional capacity from the new acute care tower and the reconfiguration of the existing facilities will increase the total number of hospital beds by 50% from 446 to 675 beds.

Phase three is slated to commence construction in 2023 for a completion in 2026.

Royal Columbian Hospital Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre

Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. (Fraser Health Authority)

Construction on the first phase of the $259-million Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Centre reached completion early last year, and officially opened in July 2020. The facility also consists of a hospital campus energy centre and 456 underground vehicle parking stalls. A two-storey indoor pedestrian bridge provides a direct connection to the rest of the hospital campus.

The provincial government is contributing about $1.35 billion towards the multi-phase redevelopment project, and the hospital’s foundation is covering the remainder.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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