Regional hospital board gives RIH project a $172-million boost

Health Minister Terry Lake speaks to regional hospital board on Friday, Sept. 16.

Health Minister Terry Lake speaks to regional hospital board on Friday, Sept. 16.

Plans for the next major project at Royal Inland Hospital received a boost when the Thompson Regional Hospital District voted unanimously to support contributing $172 million towards its construction.

The issue arose when estimates for a new Patient Care Tower increased with inflation. Five years ago, the TRHD board committed $100 million towards the Clinical Services Building and the Patient Care Tower.

The cost of both projects combined was originally estimated to be $300 to $350 million but is now expected to be about $500 million, with the Patient Care Tower coming in at between $400 and $430 million.

The Clinical Services Building, which was officially opened Friday (Sept. 16, 2016), cost about $70 million.

Health Minister Terry Lake told the board at a meeting before Friday’s official opening of the Clinical Services Building that the new cost estimate “is more than we thought it would be.

“There is a possibility that it would be less than the $430 million but I think that’s a realistic estimate,” he said.

The RIH Foundation would contribute $20 million, the province $208 to $238 million, and the TRHD $172 million.

TNRD board chair John Ranta, who sits as a director on the regional hospital board, spoke in support of the expenditure, which will add about $20 to the taxes of an average home in the region.

“Now is the time we have to take advantage of this opportunity to dramatically improve the Royal Inland Hospital,” he said.

The board unanimously approved a motion to support in principle contributing $172 million towards the new Patient Care Tower.

Lake said the business plan for the project will be submitted to the Treasury Board in December, with a contract awarded in the fall of 2018, and the building completed in late 2021.

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