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Hospital project in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario "an incredible boost" for trades, local subcontractors

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by Patricia Williams

After three years of construction, the new Sault Area Hospital has been officially dedicated.
Sault Area Hospital
Sault Area Hospital

After three years of construction, the new Sault Area Hospital has been officially dedicated.

One of the first alternative financing and procurement (AFP) hospital projects to be undertaken in the province, the four-level complex was substantially completed last October, on time and on budget.

On average, approximately 250 construction workers were on site daily. More than 80 per cent of tradespeople involved in the project were from Sault Ste. Marie and immediate area.

An estimated 2 million person-hours were spent constructing the facility.

Rick Thomas, manager of the Sault Ste Marie Construction Association, said the project provided “an incredible boost” to the local economy.

“We had maximum expected involvement by local subtrades,” he said.

More than 60 subcontractors were involved in the project, undertaken on a build, finance and maintain basis by Hospital Infrastructure Partners Inc. Consortium members included Carillion, EllisDon and the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada.

Thomas said the project also provided an opportunity for local skilled trades to initiate and complete their apprenticeships.

Construction on the project began in August 2007. The facility includes 291 beds, an expanded emergency department and for the first time offers radiation therapy services to the local community and residents of Algoma region.

Since substantial completion, hospital staff and vendors have been involved in performance testing of equipment and building systems, installation of remaining new equipment and furniture, and training and orientation of approximately 2,500 staff, physicians and volunteers.

The new hospital replaces the existing facilities at the Plummer Memorial Hospital and the Sault Ste. Marie General Hospital sites. It will be open to patients on March 6.

Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care worked with the Sault Area Hospital to manage the construction of the new hospital, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable.

The official dedication took place Feb 15.

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