Changes coming as Nicola Valley Hospital expansion underway

By on September 2, 2017
It will be about a year before the work is complete, but the Nicola Valley Hospital is getting a long overdue expansion. (Michael Potestio/Herald)


UPDATE: An older version of this story included an error regarding the amount of money the Nicola Valley Health Care Auxiliary would be contributing to the project. The group committed to raising $150,000 with the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation kicking in another $550,000.

Construction of an expanded emergency room at the Nicola Valley Hospital (NVH) officially got underway this week.

The $6.5 million project has been in the works for about two years now, and the new emergency room is expected to be complete by the fall of 2018.

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jacklie Tegart told a crowd of about 45 people gathered outside the hospital for a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday (Aug. 30) the new ER will aid the recruitment of physicians to Merritt.

“I see the ER, not only as a wonderful facility, but it’s going to attract the kind of medical professionals that you need and it will help retain the ones that your have,” said Tergart.

The hospital’s ER is being expanded from 100 square metres to approximately 500 square metres, and will include features such as a covered ambulance bay, a separate ambulance entrance, confidential triage and registration spaces and a new nurse station.

As construction is ongoing, the parking lot east of the existing emergency department is closed to the public, with no through access permitted to the north side parking lot, stated a press release from the IHA.

During construction there will be a temporary entrance to the emergency department created next to the existing one to create uninterrupted access.

The main entrance will not be changed and can be accessed from Grimmett Street.

The east parking lot is being reserved for just special appointments and physician parking.

Bus service to the hospital has also changed as two temporary bus stops are being set up.

Nicola Valley Transit Society manager Frank Trenholm said the north end route usually passes through the hospital parking lot, which won’t be possible during construction.

“We really can’t go in to the entrance right now,” said Trenholm.

Instead, on its way up Voght Strteet from downtown the bus will turn left on to Grimmett Street and stop just outside the parking lot to the hospital. The route will continue around NVH via Reid Avenue and Walters Street before continuing to Gasoline Alley on Voght street.

On its way back, the bus is stopping on the north side of Voght Street to pick up inbound passengers.

The Thompson Regional Hospital District has committed $2.24 million to the project while the Nicola Valley Health Care Auxiliary will raise $150,000 for equipment and furnishing. A fundraising campaign led by the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation aims to contribute $550,000 to the project. The rest is being funded by the IHA.

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