A dream has been realized over 25 years after a children’s hospital in Saskatchewan was first proposed.
Thursday marked the grand opening of the $285.9 million Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) in Saskatoon.
The hospital will officially open to patients on Sept. 29 when all pediatric patients and maternal inpatients will move over from Royal University Hospital and JPCH begins to accept new patients.
“This impressive hospital will play an integral role in the provincial health care landscape for generations to come, serving Saskatchewan’s children and pregnant women, all because many contributed to make this happen,” said Scott Livingstone, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“This is truly a grassroots made in Saskatchewan success story.”
WATCH: Blake Wheeler shares his story at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital grand opening
Two Saskatchewan doctors, Alan Rosenberg and Jerome Yager, believed children deserved a place where they could receive specialized medical treatment without leaving the province.
It led to the creation of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation (formerly the Children’s Health Foundation then the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan) in 1992 to raise funds towards a hospital.
The dream turned into reality in 2009 when the Saskatchewan government announced it was committing $200 million towards the project.
“The grand opening of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital marks the culmination of a decade’s worth of hard work and determination that started with a simple vision: providing world-class health care for Saskatchewan children and families for generations,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Thursday in a statement.
“This state of the art facility will provide hope and healing, and will have an impact on Saskatchewan that is sure to extend far beyond the walls of this hospital.”
WATCH: Scott Moe announces opening of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital
The province later increased its funding commitment to a total of $257 million in capital costs when revised blueprints increased the number of inpatient beds to 176 and added 38,000 square feet to the plan.
Construction of the hospital, located beside Royal University Hospital on the University of Saskatchewan grounds, started on Sept. 25, 2014.
The hospital received its official name on May 30, 2017.
Vancouver-based businessman and philanthropist Jim Pattison, who is originally from Luseland, Sask., made a $50-million donation to the new hospital.
“We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this exciting vision that made the children’s hospital a reality to serve the health care needs for children and their families in the province of Saskatchewan,” Pattison said.
It is one of the largest one-time donations made in Saskatchewan history.
WATCH: Jesse Beyer and Brynn Boback-Lane on what the hospital means for kids in the province
The construction phase of the hospital wrapped up on May 2, 2019, and the keys were turned over to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, shifting the focus to getting ready to accept patients starting in the fall.
Over 1.6 million construction hours went into building the hospital.
More than 72 full-time physicians in over 20 specialties will staff the hospital. The number of pediatricians in the province will double from 62 to 122.
Prior to its opening, Saskatchewan was one of two provinces without a dedicated children’s hospital – the other being P.E.I.