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From left to right: Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon; Labour Minister and Portland Simonds MLA Trevor Holder; Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jeff Carr; Health Minister Bruce Fitch; Saint John East MLA Glen Savoie, Horizon Health interim president and CEO Margaret Melanson; and Horizon Health vice president Jeff Carter. Image: Brad Perry

$155M expansion coming for Saint John hospital

By Brad Perry Apr 28, 2023 | 12:22 PM

The Saint John Regional Hospital will undergo $155 million in renovations over the coming years.

Officials from the province and the regional health authority were on hand Friday to announce the project.

A two-storey addition will be built on the south side of the existing building along University Avenue.

According to a news release, the project will add about 8,100 square metres of space to the facility.

Margaret Melanson, interim president and CEO of Horizon Health, said the addition will include a medical and surgical intensive care unit.

“That unit has not been really renovated appropriately to meet current standards since the hospital was created back in the 1980s,” Melanson told reporters following the announcement.

“Fundamentally, the current structure does not meet today’s standards in terms of infection control standards and space that would be adequate for patients and staff.”

The upgrade will allow the hospital to meet current standards and allow for private space for ICU patients, said Melanson.

An artist rendering of the two-storey addition being built onto the Saint John Regional Hospital. Image: Brad Perry

In addition to the medical and surgical ICU, the new space will house oncology services and a new ambulatory procedure unit for endoscopy and minor procedures.

“The future of healthcare is in ambulatory care,” said Melanson. “Expanding ambulatory care clinics is allowing patients to have same-day service without having to stay in the hospital and to have that done as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.”

The project will also involve “significant changes and modernization” to the surgical program to help improve workflow, said the release.

Phase one of the project began a couple of weeks ago and involves ground and road work to prepare the site for the addition.

It will include expanding and reconfiguring the existing staff parking lots, as well as upgrading and relocating water, electrical and sewage lines.

Jeff Carter, vice president of capital assets, operations and infrastructure with Horizon Health, said this phase should be completed by the end of summer.

Carter said the next phase, which would be the foundation and structural steel, will take place in 2024 and 2025.

“Then the building itself will go up, and that will be a four-year project after that,” said Carter, noting they expect to open the facility in 2029.

It remains to be seen whether inflation and supply chain challenges will have any sort of impact on this project.

Melanson said those are risks they take into consideration and try to mitigate as much as possible.

We’re hopeful that by proactively planning, we can avoid that as far as possible, however, we live in an evolving world and an evolving society so we’ll deal with that as it comes along,” she said.

The interim president and CEO said the project is not anticipated to cause any disruption to patient care or services.


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