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Alberta NDP to request Calgary cancer centre construction bids this month

Click to play video 'Calgary cancer centre moving ahead, province accepting construction bids' Calgary cancer centre moving ahead, province accepting construction bids
WATCH ABOVE: There are new developments in the construction of a long-awaited comprehensive cancer centre for Calgary. Mia Sosiak has the latest on what it will offer and what's happening next. – Oct 12, 2016

Public open houses are underway this week in Calgary and a request for proposals is set to be issued later this month for the construction of a long-awaited cancer centre on the Foothills hospital site.

READ MORE: New Calgary cancer centre means parking changes at Foothills hospital

Alberta Health expects to break ground late next year and open the nearly 1.2-billion-square-foot facility in 2024.

Watch below: Global’s past coverage of the Calgary cancer centre plans

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The facility will included 160 inpatient beds, 12 new radiation vaults, plus three shelled spaces for future development. It will also have space for outpatient cancer clinics, along with clinical trials and research.

A connecting walkway will allow for movement between the cancer centre and the main Foothills Medical Centre building.

READ MORE: Calgary cancer centre to be built at Foothills hospital campus

Officials said the goal of the cancer centre is to provide all care, from the time of diagnosis to end of treatment, under one roof.

But patients would still need to go for pre-diagnosis screening at other community sites, for example breast or colon cancer screening. Officials said this is more convenient for patients.

The hospital will offer some rapid access diagnosis clinics, as well.

READ MORE: Alberta to see 60% increase in cancer cases over 15 years: report

Rachel Notley’s NDP government has budgeted $1.2 million for the build, and is still hoping the price tag will drop because of recession-related construction cost savings.

The facility will be future-proofed to meet the needs of Calgarians and southern Albertans for 30 or 40 years, the province says.

In 2013, Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government announced a $1.3-billion, one-stop cancer hospital to replace the aging and overcrowded Tom Baker Centre.

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READ MORE: Calgary cancer centre to fight with Edmonton hospitals over $900M

In December 2014, former health minister Stephen Mandel told Global News the province could no longer afford the facility, because of falling oil prices.

A few months later in March, then-premier Jim Prentice replaced it with a plan for two-site plan with cancer services split between the existing Tom Baker Centre and the South Health Campus.

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Calgary cancer centre

Then in July 2015, Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman announced the government would build a comprehensive cancer centre at Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre, with the goal of opening to patients by 2020.

That timeline for opening was updated to 2024 in the last budget announcement.

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For information from the Alberta government on the open houses, click here

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to say it will be a nearly 1.2-billion-square-foot facility, rather than 1.2-million-square-foot facility.