Misericordia’s new ED progressing on time

The Misericordia Community Hospital’s new emergency department (ED) project has moved into the construction phase, as support beams are being driven into the ground.

Alberta Infrastructure marked the development in an announcement with Covenant Health and Alberta Health. The $65-million project will benefit Albertans by enhancing the delivery of care while also addressing service pressures in the area. The new ED will have six ambulance bays, up from four, and 66 treatment spaces, up from 26, as well as a diagnostic services area.

Until the new ED is completed, the existing ED continues to operate and care for patients.

Patrick Dumelie, CEO for Covenant Health, thanked the government for supporting the project. “The enhanced emergency department capacity will ensure we continue to provide high-quality, compassionate care to our patients in a state-of-the-art environment designed to meet their needs and support our teams to do their best work.”

Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda says the project continues to be on time and on budget.

“Infrastructure projects like the Misericordia Community Hospital emergency department redevelopment are an integral part of the government’s economic recovery strategy to get Albertans back to work.”

The floor plan of the new emergency department

Beginning construction 

The Misericordia construction site progress is an encouraging sight for those on the front lines of the efforts to overcome COVID-19.

“People are extremely excited,” says Heath Ramsden, clinical liaison at the Misericordia. “The Misericordia ED project is that shining star, that thing that people can feel passionate about.”

Last spring, three buildings on the site were demolished, including the former Family Medicine Centre, the West Annex and the decommissioned chapel. Extensive groundwork followed, with deep utility, storm and sewage systems being installed.

Despite COVID-19, and because the site of the new ED is separate from the main hospital, work has been able to continue uninterrupted.

“To see something new, and something that will actually help in these situations in the future, is encouraging,” says Heath. The new ED has been designed for the future, with possibilities of pandemics at the forefront. The design is modern and bright and takes into consideration decades of learnings since the existing ED opened in 1969. 

Laying the foundation

Alberta Infrastructure’s official construction launch comes at a time when patients and staff can see piles being driven 18 feet into the ground.

In December, the rebar and foundation work will start.

“It will be an exciting day when the foundation is poured,” says Heath, anticipating it will happen in the next few weeks.

The laying of the foundation is just as symbolic as it is concrete. 

“The emergency department project isn’t just important for the Misericordia; it’s also vital for the community and the Edmonton area. The project demonstrates an investment in the hospital and that there’s a desire to build it into a structure that meets current day and future needs,” says Heath.

The new ED will be nearly three times the size of the present one, which currently sees more than 50,000 patients in a space designed for 25,000.

Concurrently, a new emergency generator is being built on the Misericordia campus to support the hospital and the expanded ED when it opens — all foundations for future needs.  

Heading into 2021

The Misericordia project team is currently in the process of procuring the final construction company, which will transition from the foundation and structure phase of the project in the New Year. That new contractor will have approximately 18 months to build the mechanical and electrical systems, develop the inside and outside of the building itself and complete the finishings.

“We’re really looking forward to that next phase, when we actually start seeing things build upward,” says Heath.

Construction of the new ED is expected to finish in late 2022, and it will open to the public in 2023. 

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