Children’s hospital contract awarded – over budget, behind schedule

Watch above: It’s behind schedule and over budget but the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan is moving forward. Wendy Winiewski tells us who has been awarded the contract and how things will proceed from here.

SASKATOON – The final piece of approval in constructing the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan received a unanimous vote Tuesday. The Saskatoon Regional Health Authority (SRHA) voted in favor of awarding the construction contract of the highly anticipated hospital to Graham Construction and Engineering LP (Graham).

Crews and equipment are expected to mobilize this week to the excavated site which is mere meters west of the Royal University Hospital. Construction will begin in September.

Awarding the contract to Graham is a big step forward but the project is behind schedule and over budget.

SRHA board members had hoped for a 36-month build out, but after consulting with the contractor, the timeframe has changed.

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“Where that left us was approximately 10 months longer than what was originally anticipated,” said Craig Ayers, the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan construction director. “Primarily it’s some of the logistics around the delivery of the construction materials was obviously a main factor in pushing that schedule out beyond what we had originally estimated.”

Construction is now estimated to take 48 to 52 months, meaning completion is now anticipated for 2019.

Another change to the project, is the cost. Graham’s bid was 10 per cent above what planners had estimated.

“You can always cut, you can always delete, you can always save money but sometimes you have to be very careful not to cut things you’re going to need in the future,” warned Mike Stensrud, chair of the SRHA.

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The Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) of Saskatchewan has agreed to fundraise the extra $24.9 million needed.

According to CHF chair Greg Yuel, fundraising will be ramping up.

“In Saskatchewan we’re a pioneering people, we’re prairie people and we’re barn builders so when someone needs help, we drop what we do and we go and help,” said Yuel.

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The CHF had previously committed to fundraising $50 million, bringing its total contribution to $74.9 million. The CHF believes the goal will become attainable once the public can see the structure begin to take shape.

“People that can contribute more and have been over these last few years, as we’ve been raising what was our amount that we’d agreed to, are able to dig deeper and are able to bring us more money so that we can bring this hospital to fruition,” said Yuel hopefully.

Once pre-construction costs are figured in, including base pilings, parkade demolition and building a new entrance to the parkade, the total project cost is $285.2 million.

The provincial government is covering 82.5 per cent of the bill.

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