Stuart Lake Hospital Replacement - Fort St. James, BC

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Project Overview

We are building a new, state-of-the-art hospital in Fort St. James on the territory of the Nak'azdli to address current and future patient care needs.

Triple the size of the existing facility (approximately 6,300 square feet), the new hospital will model excellence in health care, incorporating modern best practices and standards, as well as bringing multiple health services under one roof. The new hospital will improve the healing environment and provide culturally-safe care for residents of Fort St. James, surrounding areas, and local Indigenous communities.

The new hospital will feature:

Project Overview

We are building a new, state-of-the-art hospital in Fort St. James on the territory of the Nak'azdli to address current and future patient care needs.

Triple the size of the existing facility (approximately 6,300 square feet), the new hospital will model excellence in health care, incorporating modern best practices and standards, as well as bringing multiple health services under one roof. The new hospital will improve the healing environment and provide culturally-safe care for residents of Fort St. James, surrounding areas, and local Indigenous communities.

The new hospital will feature:

  • 27 beds: 18 community care and 9 acute care
  • An emergency department with two treatment rooms, a trauma bay, and a covered ambulance bay
  • A Primary Care Centre, consolidating services currently offered in Fort St. James to one location
  • Expanded laboratory and diagnostic imaging
  • An in-house Spiritual Space and Gathering Space
  • Larger space for palliative care, including a palliative care lounge and garden
  • Culturally and medicinally significant landscaping with outdoor spaces and gardens developed in collaboration with local Indigenous Elders and plant experts
  • Construction of 85 parking stalls, greatly increasing parking capacity

If you have any questions about the project, feel free to reach out to our team at LetsTalkSLH@northernhealth.ca.

Depiction of the future Stuart Lake Hospital (approximate and subject to change)




  • Construction Time Lapse [VIDEO]

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    Construction on the new Stuart Lake Hospital has come a long way since breaking ground! Now that the exterior of the new facility is almost complete, we thought this would be the perfect time to look back and see how it all came together...


    Tip: Make sure you're watching in 1080p for the best viewing experience.


    Did you know you can see the SLH build progress from the comfort of your home? Check out the live snapshot, time lapse, or take a tour through the archives with our SLH construction camera.

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  • Project Update: February site tour

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    It's a new year, and that means there are exciting updates at the Stuart Lake Hospital. Construction has progressed over the winter months, and the exterior is nearly finished! Development activities are now shifting primarily to interior work.


    Northern Health President and CEO Ciro Panessa was in Fort St. James to visit the future hospital and check out the newly-mounted exterior cladding.

    Pictured: Sebastian Mountjoy (Project Manager), Andre Wakkary (Sr. Project Coordinator), Ciro Panessa (CEO Northern Health), Drew Woods (Sr. Project Manager), Nathan Shields (Site Superintendent) show off the almost-finished exterior of the new hospital.



    This fall, the team will start installing equipment and getting internal systems ready to go for opening in early 2025. The new building will bring all health services under one roof, providing:

    • 27 beds: 18 community care and 9 acute care
    • An emergency department with 2 treatment rooms, a trauma bay, and a covered ambulance bay
    • Primary care
    • Lab and diagnostic imaging
    • In-house spiritual and gathering spaces
    • Larger space for palliative care
    • Culturally and medicinally significant landscaping with outdoor spaces and gardens

    Pictured: Sebastian Mountjoy (Project Manager), Andre Wakkary (Sr. Project Coordinator), Ciro Panessa (CEO Northern Health), Drew Woods (Sr. Project Manager), Nathan Shields (Site Superintendent) visit the site of the new Stuart Lake Hospital.



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  • November 2023 - Quarterly Update

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    Project status update

    Where we’re at

    As you’ve no doubt seen, this summer has been a flurry of construction activity on the new Stuart Lake Hospital. We’ve seen walls go up, roads paved, and a building come to life. The new hospital is now fully enclosed, and the work has shifted to items such as interior wall steel studs, backing and boarding, electrical, IT infrastructure, fire protection, and more.

    While there is still a good deal of work to go before the building is ready for patients, it’s easy to see what an improvement the new facility is going to be for residents, staff, and medical staff.

    Outside of the building, the Stuart Lake Hospital project team has been working with Graham Construction on the 100% Design Submittal to address concerns and ensure that any deficiencies and issues can be resolved before we open the building.

    Project schedule

    Despite how good the building is looking already, there is still a great deal of work to happen before we’re ready to bring patients into the building. However, the SLH project is still on track to open for patients late 2024 with the project being completed in 2025.

    With the design work nearly wrapped up, much of the project team focus has shifted to transition planning, which is a complicated process that will take nearly a year to figure out. This work ahead of time will ensure that we’re able to hit the ground running in the new facility once we open the doors.

    Once we open the doors on the new facility, the next steps will be the demolition of the old hospital, and the creation of new parking and culturally significant gardens and landscaping in its stead. If all goes according to plans, that work will be complete in 2025 and the new Stuart Lake Hospital will be ready to serve the community for years to come.

    Site tour

    In August, we were privileged to be able to offer a site tour to staff and medical staff of the new Stuart Lake Hospital. Graham Construction took everyone on a detailed walkthrough of the new building to show them where the new features would be located.

    Despite the unfinished state of the inside, all those on the tour were in awe of the size of the new Stuart Lake Hospital compared to the current site. We look forward to hosting more of these tours in the future and sharing regular progress photos of the work happening on site.


    Next steps and upcoming milestones

    Engagement

    Although the design portion of the hospital is nearly complete, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be engaging with staff and the public any further. Staff and community have an important role to play in the work still to come. Transition planning is a vital component of the project, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on what that should look like.

    We will contiue to engage throughout the lifetime of the project through Let’s Talk, our established working groups, as well as other virtual and in-person events.

    Dakelh language working group

    In addition to the work going on inside, we are also actively working on ways to make sure that the facility is culturally safe and welcome. One way, among many, that we’re doing that is by creating a Dakelh language working group comprised of Elders and language experts from the surrounding Indigenous communities.

    In the spirit of reconciliation and cultural safety, and to reflect the territory on which the hospital is located, a number of patient and staff signs throughout the facility will have Dakelh translations. We look forward to sharing these with you in the future.

    For more information

    Stuart Lake Hospital Replacement Project Let’s Talk

    Let’s Talk is our one-stop shop for everything related to the Stuart Lake Hospital project. Not only does this site have regular project updates, but it is also a place where you can provide feedback and thoughts on the project. We are always looking to connect and to hear from you! Please stay in touch and keep your questions coming.

    Stuart Lake Hospital Let’s Talk

    Employment opportunities at Stuart Lake Hospital

    A new hospital with more beds, expanded lab and diagnostic imaging, and a Primary Care Clinic, means a great number of positions to fill. A variety of positions will be available both in the hospital as well as the Primary Care Clinic which will be housed in the new hospital such as:

    • Licensed Practical Nurse
    • Registered Nurse
    • Housekeeper
    • Cook
    • Food Service Worker
    • Facility Maintenance
    • Imaging Technician
    • Medical Lab Technologist
    • Care Aid
    • Laboratory Clerk
    • Primary Care Assistant
    • Social Worker
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Medical Office Assistant
    • Community Health Worker
    • Physicians
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Rehab Assistant
    • And many more!


    To start your education journey to a job in health care, connect with employment contacts at Northern Health Recruitment (nhjobs@northernhealth.ca) or Megan Hunter, Health Services Administrator – Omineca (megan.hunter@northernhealth.ca).

    Employment opportunities and additional recruitment contacts

    Stuart Lake Hospital Replacement Project construction camera

    We’ve installed a construction camera that you can access to see what’s going on at the site! Follow along to see the progress and watch the new hospital take shape.

    Click on the link on the Let’s Talk Page (or here: Stuart Lake Hospital Construction Camera) for a bird’s eye view of construction anytime you like.

    Contact us directly

    For questions, feedback, or to get added to the distribution list for these updates, feel free to reach out directly to us through Mark Hendricks, Communications Lead, Capital Projects, at:


    Mark.Hendricks@northernhealth.ca or at LetsTalkSLH@northernhealth.ca

  • October Site Tour

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    As the fall months go by and the site gets ready for the winter, work continues to progress both inside and outside at a rapid pace. Over the winter, work will continue inside to continue bringing the building to life.

    The main entrance to the new Stuart Lake Hospital will provide a welcoming and inclusive first point of contact for patients, family, and staff to Stuart Lake Hospital.

    Drywall is progressing throughout the hospital including in the inpatient rooms. In the new Stuart Lake Hospital, all inpatient rooms will be single rooms with a dedicated washroom.

    The family gathering space will have access to a landscaped outdoor area with covered seating.

    In addition to the landscaped outdoor space near the family gathering space, the long-term care area as well as the paliative care room will have an outdoor healing garden with plants local to the region.

    In addition to all the work going on inside, one of the most beautiful components of the hospital is the region itself. This view is taken from within the hospital. Natural light and windows are a big component of the design and views like these will be common throughout the facility.

  • Concept to Reality

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    Watching images come to life is always an exciting thing. Recently, the project team for the new Stuart Lake Hospital got to do just that with a site tour to see the in-progress construction. Going through the framed structure, it's easy to see the concept plan coming to life before our eyes.

    Just take a look for yourself. This is the final concept rendering for the front of the new hospital:

    And this is the under-construction new hospital. You can see the overhang from the main entrance coming to life in this photo. You can also see the size of the new facility, which is drastically larger than the current facility.

    We look forward to sharing more photos with you as the build progresses. And don't forget, you can take a look at the progress at any time through our construction camera.

  • Site Photo: March 2023

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    What a difference a few weeks make! Structural steel installation is well underway at the Stuart Lake Hospital construction site. It's a massive difference from this time last year, and even from our last post about the elevator shaft. It's clear to see we'll have a new hospital before too long.

    Less visually-impactful than the steel installation, but equally importantly, water- and damp-proofing continues and the underslab and foundation insulation is progressing in line with below grade services and utilities.

    It's a busy place for crews working on-site, and an exciting time for Fort St. James!






  • FAQ: What about labour and delivery at the new hospital?

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    Good question. Labour and delivery are major life events, and for many individuals and families this is a time of pregnancy with lots of uncertainty. Gathering tiny shirts and socks, finding a car seat or someone to watch the other kids are are some of the necessary preparations for a new baby, and for many families in Northern BC, travel is a factor that must be taken into account as well. This will continue to be the case for families and individuals in the Stuart Lake area.

    For folks in Fort St. James and the surrounding communities, deciding to have a baby in the Stuart Lake Hospital wasn't an option since the hospital couldn't accommodate labour and delivery complications. Although a labour and delivery room will be part of the new hospital, these are to accommodate emergency and unexpected deliveries, where transportation to Vanderhoof or Prince George is not possible.

    For those of us living in this area, Vanderhoof's St. John's Hospital and UHNBC's Maternity Care Unit will continue to be where we labour and deliver. While traveling from home to give birth is not ideal for some, knowing the diversion hospitals are there and ready for you is some comfort.

    Thank you for your questions, and please keep them coming. We want to hear from you.

  • Hospital Highlight: Palliative Care

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    Early on in the conversation about the new Stuart Lake Hospital, when we were first talking to community and Indigenous leaders from Fort St. James and the surrounding area about palliative care, we learned from you that end of life is a time for community and family to gather. We heard that space is necessary to accommodate all those who come to witness death, to pay their respects, and to grieve together; we heard that death is a time to follow protocol, to call on ceremony and connection to see us through the time of death and to see those we love leave this world and move on. We are grateful for the stories you shared and for how generously we were welcomed to experience death with you and to learn from you so we can do better.

    Because of the teachings offered us and the care shown by the community, we have been able to create a palliative suite at the new Stuart Lake Hospital that will be a welcoming and comforting space when end of life times come. Some of the features of this space are described below.

    With windows and doors to the outside and views to the lake and the forests, the palliative care area has access to a garden full of local, culturally significant plantings and spaces where people can gather and sit together.










    The palliative care area also includes a patient room and a family lounge area. In the lounge, chairs and a table are available, as well as seats that recline for sleeping, a family washroom, and a fridge and microwave to use to ensure you feel comfortable during your visit.


  • Mysterious Orange Object

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    View of the SLH site from Junkers St.

    Folks with their eyes open for change at the Stuart Lake Hospital site will have noticed a mysterious orange object smack in the middle of construction. Right now it's a curious, brightly coloured beacon against a winter landscape, but the orange object, once unwrapped and revealed, will be recognizable as the elevator shaft, a vital constructional element of the new hospital.


    View of the construction area from SLH deck

    Elevator shafts act as a structural backbone to a building to which other elements connect. The elevator in the Stuart Lake Hospital allows access to the basement level, where the electrical and maintenance areas are found, as well as the Morgue and the Quiet Room.


    Up close and personal with the elevator shaft

    Watch as the hospital continues to take shape, and stay tuned here for more information on the specific areas of the hospital and what you can look forward to once the new build is complete.

  • February 2023 Quarterly Update

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    Where we’re at

    Despite the ups and downs in temperature, through snow and wind, and on the occasional welcome sunny day, construction continues to advance at the site of the new Stuart Lake Hospital. Staff, patients, and visitors to the hospital have seen great change from the windows, as we’ve gone from a spruce forest to a forest of rebar and concrete. From a hole in the ground back in the fall to foundations, walls and miles of orange tarp, the replacement hospital is becoming a reality.

    Weather hoarding and tarping of work surfaces for concrete pours continues, and waterproofing and damp proofing work is ongoing. Suspended slab pours began in November and continue when the weather permits. Despite a closure from December 24 to January 4, progress is right on track with below grade utilities and site services infrastructure. Structural Steel fabrication is underway and we happily anticipate site work starting mid-February.

    Project schedule

    Like all project schedules, timelines can be impacted by any number of factors and thus are subject to change. That said, the SLH replacement project is on time in terms of overall construction and design.

    The 100% Design Submittal has been under review by Northern Health since its submittal in November 2022. Graham recently delivered a supplement 100% Design Submittal which has been reviewed by NH and sent back with comments.

    If all goes as planned, the current schedule sees the building substantially watertight by this fall. This means we’ll be on schedule for the opening and operation of the new hospital in 2024. This will be followed by the demolition of the old hospital, and the creation of new parking and culturally significant gardens and landscaping in its stead, and project completion in 2025!

    Next steps and upcoming milestones

    Engagement

    New renderings from the 100% Design Submittal are expected in the next few weeks so we can better picture the hospital as it will appear in real life. Renderings are subject to change, but as engagement ramps up in the new year, opportunities will arise for the public to take a peek at the prospective hospital design. It will also allow us to hear what you say, gather feedback, and deliver it back to the project team.

    We are very excited for 2023’s community engagement opportunities. Some of these will include:

    • Public displays at multiple locations in Fort St. James where people can view the renderings and plans for the new hospital
    • A joint event at Fort St. James Senior Secondary School with NH Recruitment to introduce students to employment pathways in health and the many opportunities that will exist in the new hospital
    • Open houses for health care workers and the public (dates and venues yet to be determined) in Nak’azdli and Fort St. James. These will be a highlight of our engagement year and a chance to connect in person
    • Health and education fairs, community or employment event? We are available! And we’ll travel. Get in touch if you’d like us to present to your organization or be present at your event.

    For more information

    Employment Opportunities at SLH

    A new hospital with more beds, expanded lab and diagnostic imaging, and a Primary Care Clinic means a great number of positions to fill. Jobs in housekeeping, food services and maintenance will be available, as well as technician positions, nurses and care aids, to mention only a few.

    With construction underway, we are thinking about how to staff the new facility to ensure that health needs of the community are met. We are also thinking about the benefits of staffing the hospital from the community – some people are credentialed and ready to go into the positions available, and some are looking to start down the path to employment, and a new hospital is a great opportunity for all.

    To start your education journey to a job in health care, connect with employment contacts at Northern Health Recruitment or contact the Stuart Lake Hospital Site Manager. Go to Let’s talk to discover what jobs are available and how to access the education and support to get you there.

    Stuart Lake Hospital Replacement Project Let’s Talk

    Let’s Talk is our one-stop shop for everything related to the Stuart Lake Hospital project. Not only does this site have regular project updates, but it is also a place where you can provide feedback and thoughts on the project. We are always looking to connect and to hear from you! Please stay in touch and keep your questions coming.

    Stuart Lake Hospital Let’s Talk

    Stuart Lake Hospital Replacement Project construction camera

    We’ve installed a construction camera that you can access to see what’s going on at the site! Follow along to see the progress and watch the new hospital take shape.

    Click on the link on the Let’s Talk Page (or here: Stuart Lake Hospital Construction Camera) for a bird’s eye view of construction anytime you like.

    Contact us directly

    For questions, feedback, or to get added to the distribution list for these updates, feel free to reach out directly to us at:


    LetsTalkSLH@northernhealth.ca

Page last updated: 23 Feb 2024, 11:44 AM