Construction kicks off on phase 2 of Children’s Hospital of Sask.

SASKATOON – Saskatchewan is a little closer to having its very own children’s hospital. On Wednesday, the second phase of construction on the $285-million facility officially began.

The day comes nearly one year after the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan broke ground. A pile of dirt isn’t really much to look at but officials said from here on in expect the site to take shape.

“Every day now, moving forward we’re going to see progress, we’re very excited to be initiating this phase of construction,” said project director Craig Ayers.

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When the new hospital opens it will care for newborns, children, teens, pregnant women and mothers. It will feature private patient rooms with enough space for family members and a state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit.

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“We’re very excited for this day,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, president and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

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“We’ve all waited for it for a long time and this is a tribute to all those who have believed in this project from day one.”

Starting this week, the site will be a hub of activity as contractors begin excavation.

“We’re going to expose all those piles that we installed as part of phase one of construction. We have 240 piles in the ground that will support the base foundation for the future building so they’re excavating down,” remarked Ayers.

“They’re starting to do some work related to the deep plumbing for the building and really starting initiate the construction of the sub-basement level of the facility.”

The biggest sign of progress on site is yet to come. Two tower cranes will arrive early next month but crews need to install footings first.

“One will be situated roughly in the middle of the excavated site, that’s going to be in place for about 14 months,” said Ayers.

The other will be a crane that measures 270 feet in height, one of the largest construction cranes in the country.

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“That’s going to be on site for approximately three years which is really going to be the work horse throughout the construction of the building.”

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It’s a major undertaking that, at the time, will result in significant roadway changes for patients and visitors.

“Please take some extra time when you’re coming to the site, please watch for signage because we’re doing everything we can to make sure they have access to the parking structure but we want it to be safe and organized,” warned Ayers.

The target for completion of the building is early 2019, with the hospital fully operational later that year.

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