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WHERE WE’RE AT
Celebrating exciting construction milestones
- Construction of new hospital has surpassed 50% completion. Project is on schedule, on budget and continues to pass regular inspections with no issues.
- All Level 1 and the majority of Level 2 & 3 exterior panels are installed.
- A total 194 multi trade racks (MTR’s) have been installed inside the new hospital. MTRs are structural steel frames located in the ceiling space above the drywall. They hide and protect and allow for the flow of mechanisms such as gas lines, and mechanical and electrical wires, throughout the facility. The MTRs were designed and fabricated off site to decrease the chance of defects and save time and money.
- The structural steel framing and exterior walls for the ‘penthouse’ (Level 5) are complete. Level 5 is where the majority of the new hospital’s mechanical and electrical components are located, such as the heating and cooling system.
- Discussions and negotiations regarding equipment and furniture suppliers continue. Equipment continues to be delivered and installed throughout the building.
On Level 0 (the basement), framing, and the installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing lines, as well as pre-painting is happening in the following areas:
- facilities and maintenance
- food services
On Level 1 (the main floor), drywalling and taping for the following areas continues:
- lab services
- renal services
- cancer care
intensive care unit (ICU)
New Seven Sisters taking shape
The new Seven Sisters is being built on the southwest corner of the Mills Memorial Hospital site, to the left of the current hospital’s main entrance. The new facility, which is part of the Mills Memorial Hospital project, will have 25 beds – an increase from the current 20.
Seven Sisters is a regional mental health facility that provides long-term rehabilitation and recovery programs for adults living with serious and persistent mental illness.
At almost double the size of the current facility on Tetrault Street, and with new amenities, including a multi-sensory room, the new Seven Sisters will greatly benefit those who live and work there.
Stay tuned! We will release plans and renderings of the new Seven Sisters soon!
Planning for inclusivity, cultural safety, comfort and more
The project’s Indigenous and Community Advisory Working Groups (IAWG & CAWG) met in early 2023. Members continue to provide valuable feedback on how to ensure the new hospital is welcoming, inclusive, locally relevant, and culturally safe.
The most recent discussion included a variety of topics such as landscaping, naming, art and artifacts, increased patient support, the inclusion of various languages throughout the new facility including Sm’algyax, and many other topics.
Input from the CAWG and IAWG is filtered upwards to the MMH Project Steering Committee who, in collaboration with the Project Board, balances the complexities of a capital building project with the needs and wants of the local and regional communities and residents.
WHERE WE’RE GOING
Recruiting and retaining staff
Last year, Northern Health created a new position, a Recruitment and Retention Ambassador for Northwest BC, to assist with staff recruitment and retention initiatives for facilities throughout the region. Brad Leier was hired into the position in November 2022 and a big part of his role is focused on recruitment for the new facilities planned for Terrace: the new Mills Memorial Hospital and Seven Sisters.
The recruitment aspect of Brad’s role is centered around building recruitment capacity in the Northwest through establishing and maintaining partnerships with community partners including the local schools and school districts, Indigenous employment and training offices, community service groups, WorkBC centres, and post-secondary institutions. Brad’s day-to-day work includes conducting school visits, recruitment presentations, helping prospective staff navigate the application process, participating in career fairs, as well as working with career and employment councillors to increase their awareness of the many careers available with Northern Health.
The other aspect of Brad’s role – retention – sees him supporting initiatives aimed at creating the best work environments possible across the Northwest.
Brad lives in Terrace with his wife Dena and their two children, Jackson and Melanie. Moving from Alberta 12 years ago, he now calls BC home. Brad has over a decade of experience in healthcare and has worked in a variety of positions within both the health and post-secondary sectors. When he’s not working, you will find Brad on his small farm – Graham Acres Homestead – where he and his wife are in the process of launching a creamery, thanks to their growing herd of dairy goats.
Preparing for the big moves and future operations
The new Seven Sisters is set to open less than a year from now, and the new hospital should be in operations in 2025, in little more than two years. That may seem like lots of time but there’s a significant amount of work to do to prepare to move into and operate both new facilities.
In her new role as Transition Coordinator, Anne Chisholm is tasked with coordinating and supporting staff, physicians, and managers, to become ready to provide care, services and supports in the new hospital and Seven Sisters. She will also support community partners and patients in getting to know the new facilities.
Let’s Talk MMH is our one-stop shop for everything related to the Mills Memorial Hospital Replacement project.
The site has regular project updates, a link to the construction camera and much more. It’s also where you can provide feedback and ask questions about the project.
Check out our two construction cameras
Check out what the construction site looks like in real time on our two construction cameras. One camera is aimed at the new Mills Memorial Hospital and the other shows the new Seven Sisters site.
The link to the cameras is on Let’s Talk MMH. You can download photos, videos an do all kinds of other cool stuff.
Email us at letstalkMMH@northernhealth.ca
Send us an email if you’ve got questions or feedback, or if want to receive email updates like this.
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WHERE WE'RE AT
Construction advancing steadily
Over four days at the start of October, the two tower cranes on the Mills Memorial Hospital (MMH) construction site were dismantled and removed. The two cranes were initially erected last summer to move heavy equipment and materials. With the structural bulk of the new hospital complete, smaller mobile cranes or teleporters, which are forklifts with an extending boom, will be used to move materials to upper floor locations.
Preparing for winter and work inside
Construction of the new hospital remains on schedule. While timeline adjustments due to labour and supply channel disruptions are always a possibility, to date the Mills Memorial Hospital Replacement project has not been affected.
Workers continue to install insulation and siding on the exterior of the building and the shell of the new facility should be complete by the end of the year. With the shell in place, work can continue inside the building throughout the winter. Some work is already happening inside the building such as mechanical and electrical work, and placement and installation of boilers, air handling units, and steel studs in various departments on the first two floors. Various pieces of equipment also continue to be delivered and installed as they arrive.
More workers on site
The total number of workers on site varies depending on the specific work requirements at any give time. Throughout the past few months, the number of workers on site has increased significantly, from fewer than 200 to more than 250 workers. Over the course of the project, over 80 regional businesses have also secured contracts and supplied goods or services to the project with many continuing to service and supply the project.
New Seven Sisters Underway
Construction of the new Seven Sisters has begun and is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. The foundation for the new facility is underway and concrete pours are beginning this month.
Seven Sisters is a regional mental-health facility that provides long-term rehabilitation and recovery programs for adults living with serious and persistent mental illness. The redevelopment will allow more people to receive care in a larger space with additional amenities. The new Seven Sisters will be nearly twice as big as the existing building and include 25 beds, which is an increase from the current 20. The new facility will also add treatment rooms, meeting spaces and recreational facilities. Patients will have access to abundant natural light and outdoor space.
Both the new Seven Sisters and the new hospital are being built on the same site as the existing facilities. The new Seven Sisters will be on the southwestern corner of the site to the left of the existing hospital's main entrance.
Farewell Sleeping Beauty
The Sleeping Beauty building is no more. The building was demolished earlier this month to make room for the new Mills Memorial hospital and parking at the future facility. While it’s sad to say goodbye to a building with such rich history, it’s exciting to make way for the new hospital.
Sleeping Beauty was originally built in 1961. Over its lifetime, the building has had many purposes, including being a nurses' residence and a place for visiting specialists and expectant mothers. For many years, it was home to Terrace's pediatric services. Soon after construction of the new hospital began, pediatric services moved to the Park Avenue medical clinic. In the future, pediatric services will move to the Keith Avenue mall, across the street from the new hospital. In the last few months, Sleeping Beauty served as an office for PCL, the main contractor designing and building the new hospital.
WHERE WE'RE GOING
The construction and design of the new hospital and Seven Sisters are still an important focus of the Mills Memorial Replacement project. However, we are also ramping up planning and work around patient care and operations at the new facilities.Staffing and recruitment plans underwayWe are currently working to determine the exact staffing levels that will be needed for both new facilities. With an increase in services, a significant increase in the number of staff in various positions will be necessary. Staffing plans must consider many factors, including who to hire, and how to balance the duties and workloads of different staff in different departments.
Transition Coordinator hired
Getting the facility ready for patient use includes preparing physical space, equipment, and technology. But people need to be ready too. New space and technology mean new ways of working for staff, physicians, and managers who need to be supported with training and development to provide care and service with the new workflows, new equipment and new technologies. Patients and families and the broader community will also need to be supported to get to know the new hospital.
Anne Chisholm has joined the project to help coordinate and support staff, physicians, and managers to become ready to provide care, services and supports in the new hospital and Seven Sisters. She has over 35 years of experience in health care, first as a staff nurse followed by many years of management and leadership work in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. Two of her recent projects include the establishment of the Primary Care Medical Unit at UHNBC and the Urgent Care Centre in Prince George. Anne is excited by challenges and successes that come with working collaboratively to solve problems. She will quickly become a familiar face around the hospital. Say hello when you see her!
- A Recruitment and Retention Ambassador position specifically for Northwest BC has been created. The role will play a big part in recruitment efforts for the new facilities in Terrace.
- A Physician Lead position, who will help with the transition and recruitment of physicians for the new facilities, is in development.
- A company that specializes in healthcare facility transitions will support the physical move from the current hospital to the new one.
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CELEBRATING ONE YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION!
Where we’re at
In June, we celebrated a year of construction! Here’s a few numbers from work completed to date.
- Over 100,000 tonnes of rebar
- 63 different slabs poured with 17,000 cubic metres of concrete
- More than 80 local businesses secured work on the site (see full list on Let’s Talk MMH)
The project remains on schedule and on budget.
Where we’re going
Several exciting things will be happening before the end of the year.
- Both tower cranes will be coming down.
- Outside shell of the new hospital will be complete.
- Internal and external information sessions about the project will be offered.
The project is expected to be complete in the summer of 2026. The “substantial completion” date, however, is scheduled for September 2024. Substantial completion is the point when Northern Health will take possession of the new hospital and continue work towards getting the facility ready for patient use. After that, the current facility will need be decommissioned and demolished, and the landscaping and parking will also need to be completed.
Note that capital projects are complicated and many variables can affect timelines and deliverables.
Go to Let’s Talk MMH for a downloadable pdf of the visual timeline.
NEW HOSPITAL HIGHLIGHTS
New ambulance garage will increase patient comfort and care
Patients arriving at the new Mills Memorial Hospital by ambulance can expect a more comfortable and private experience as a result of a new, enclosed, drive-through ambulance garage.
At the current hospital, ambulances back into the emergency department lot behind the hospital. Patients are then transported out of the back of the ambulance, through the elements, into the main emergency entrance.
With the new garage, which has two bays, patients will be transferred in a fully enclosed, temperature-regulated space. Once the ambulance pulls into the garage, the doors will shut to protect patients and staff from the outdoors and weather, which can be extreme at times in Terrace. Patients will then be transported directly into the emergency department, far away from the main emergency entrance.
The new garage was designed to meet industry standards in consultation with BC Emergency Health Services, which oversees the BC Ambulance Service.
The new ambulance garage is on the northeast corner of the new hospital, near Keith Avenue.
What spaces will be available for families to visit and gather?
The new hospital has been designed with all types of patients and visitors in mind, including patients with large extended families, and patients with no family.
All rooms in the new facility will be private and allow families to gather comfortably and privately. Each room has its own bathroom and window, as well as visitor seating.
Several other spaces have also been placed throughout the facility. For example, family rooms, quiet rooms, and the TV lounge. This gives patients multiple places to go with their visitors other than their room. It also allows patients who may get lonely to have places to go and be around others.
The spiritual space on the first floor is also available for families to gather. The space has a large gathering room, as well as a small gathering room, a storage area, and a kitchenette. It also has technology in the larger room so that family members can join those in the room virtually.
Outside, several gardens with seating are also planned throughout the site.
PROJECT WORKING GROUPS
Engagement is a major part of Northern Health capital projects. We’ve engaged various stakeholders and partners in a variety of ways, sharing information and gathering input, as the project has developed and progressed.
A significant way we have received valuable input into the new hospital has been through both the MMH Indigenous Advisory Working Group (IAWG) and MMH Community Advisory Working Group (CAWG).
The work of the IAWG and the CAWG informs the project to help ensure a facility that reflects and supports the communities served by Mills Memorial Hospital. Over the last few months, both groups have met several times with members of the MMH Replacement Project Team to provide feedback on a variety of topics. Aspects of the project that may be influenced by these groups include but are not limited to patient experience, culturally appropriate design, artwork, signage, and local considerations of interest that arise as we meet.
Input to date from both groups has been extremely valuable and we are tremendously grateful for the participation of the members.
Input from the CAWG and IAWG is filtered upwards. It first goes to the MMH Capital Advisory Committee. Then it goes to the MMH Project Steering Committee who, in collaboration with the Project Board, balances the complexities of a capital building project with the needs and wants of the local and regional communities and residents.
There is a lot going on behind the scenes in the construction of a new hospital, but a simplified version of reporting, when it comes to these groups, looks like the graphic on this page.
Both the IAWG and CAWG are schedule to meet next before the summer’s end.
Terms of reference for both working groups and the MMH Capital Advisory Committee can be found in the documents section of this website. Take a look to find out more info about the groups' purpose and membership:
- Indigenous Advisory Working Group (IAWG) terms of reference
- Community Advisory Working Group (CAWG) terms of reference
- Capital Advisory Committee (CAC) terms of reference
Go to Let’s Talk MMH
Go to letstalk.northernhealth.ca/mmh for regular project updates, photos, videos and other relevant documents. Let’s Talk MMH is our one-stop shop for everything related to the Mills Memorial Hospital Replacement project. The site has regular project updates and is where you can provide feedback and thoughts on the project.
Get in touch
Got questions or feedback, or want your email added to our quarterly update distribution list? Email: letstalkMMH@northernhealth.ca
Sarah Artis, the project liaison for the Mills Memorial Hospital Replacement Project, will respond.
Check out the construction camera
The photos below are from Saturday, July 2, 2022.
The top photo shows the new hospital construction. The white material you see on the first floor is insulation. The siding that will ultimately cover the outside of hospital will cover the insulation.
The bottom photo shows the future site of the new Seven Sister facility. This is the southwest corner of the site, to the west of the current hospital’s main entrance.