The first patients could be admitted to the new Mills Memorial Hospital two years from now, suggests a mid-February construction progress report prepared by the Northern Health Authority.
Main contractor PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. is now providing a schedule that calls for the completion of interior finishes by June 2024 with a substantial completion in the fall of 2024.
Services will then shift from the old Mills to the new one, with a progress report indicating first patients will be admitted starting Feb. 2025.
The report presented to the North West Regional Hospital District board also indicates the budget for the project is holding at $632.6 million although it is $10 million more than originally set.
That additional $10 million is the cost of adding an upper level neonatal care service, which was not considered when the construction contract was first signed.
The report does suggest the additional $10 million is the minimum needed to add the higher level neonatal service.
At 78 beds, the new Mills will have 28 more than the current regular bed complement at the old Mills. And the ER treatment space capacity will double to 20 spaces from the current 10.
In addition to an increased bed count, the new Mills is seen by authorities as a regional centre for advance trauma care, orthopedic surgeries, pathology, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.
It will also be a better training site for students at the UBC satellite medical program located at UNBC in Prince George.
The current Seven Sisters mental health facility needs to be demolished to make space for the new hospital and a new Seven Sisters is now going up on the southwest corner of the property.
Based on the submitted schedule, the new Seven Sisters will have 25 beds, five more than the one it is replacing. It will be mostly completed by Dec. 2023, with occupancy set for spring 2024.
Demolition of the current Seven Sisters is to start in April 2024 with the old Mills to be demolished starting in January 2025 and completed in November 2025.
Project completion will involve cleaning up the site and planting greenery, that is scheduled to be done by July 2026, a full five years since construction officially began in June 2021.
As of late last year, the number of workers has increased to more than 250, and that number fluctuates depending on work requirements at any given time.
The progress report says around 28 per cent of the workforce is either local or from the region. PCL has also set up a large work camp on land leased from the Kitsumkalum First Nation for workers from elsewhere.