A significant milestone has been reached on the construction portion of the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has now been handed over the keys.
Inside the facility, animal murals line the walls and a nature theme is woven into each floor of the hospital.
Consultations were done around the province to get input on the design.
“Everything from colours to shapes and animals – things that children and families from around this province felt meant something to them has been incorporated,” said Corey Miller, provincial programs vice-president with Saskatchewan Health Authority.
On the main floor, a bright entrance feeds into the lobby – where the lighting was designed to mimic northern lights.
There’s also a theatre for families and patients to spend their time.
The ground floor features three surgical suites – the first in Saskatchewan dedicated to pediatrics.
There are private rooms throughout the 176-bed facility.
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has 43 private rooms with space for both patients and parents.
The maternal services floor houses 65 private rooms for labour, birth and recovery.
With 18 rooms, the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) will be the only one of its kind in the province. Like other floors, it has family quiet areas and kitchens.
There’s also an outdoor play area and school room.
“Children are not just small adults,” said Dr. Laurence Givelichian, head of pediatrics for the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “They require a different type of technology and a different type of specialists and a different type of environment.”
Givelichian said a home-like environment decreases anxiety and allows patients to be discharged sooner.
With the construction portion of the facility now complete, the focus shifts to training. Miller said it will take many months to train and recruit, but they are on track.
“We have 2,400 staff to train,” Miller explained. “We have to train and orientate all of our existing staff as well as new staff to the new building.”
More than 72 full-time physicians in over 20 specialties will staff the hospital. The number of pediatricians in the province will now double – from 62 to 122.
“Just because we are able now to recruit more sub-specialists to this facility,” Givelichian explained.
“Our children and their families will not have to travel anymore outside the province. Very few of them will still have to go.”
Givelichian added, for him, this is a once in a lifetime experience.
“This is not something that will be repeated again in my lifetime,” he said. “For all of us, this is one of the biggest deals, probably, of our careers. I cannot imagine anything else to top something like this.”
Brynn Boback-Lane, president and CEO of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation, said the project symbolizes what the people of Saskatchewan can do when they work together.
“This children’s hospital is a tribute to Saskatchewan,” Boback-Lane said. “To their families to our moms-to-be and to the children and babies that will utilize it.”
More than 1.6 million construction hours went into building the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.
Officials said the project is on time and on budget.
The total cost was $258.9 million. The province kicked in $257.6 million and the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation contributed $28.3 million.
Boback-Lane said there’s about $6 million left to get 77, 000 pieces of equipment and furniture in and ready by opening day.
The facility is slated to open sometime in the fall.