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Cementing the Future of the Niagara Health System’s New Health-Care Complex

Posted Aug 19th, 2009

St. Catharines – Today, local elected officials and hospital and fundraising representatives took part in the first cement pour of the foundation slab at the site of Niagara Health System’s new health-care complex and Walker Family Cancer Centre in St. Catharines.

Now that the first concrete footing has been poured, the community will be able to see the physical structure of our future health-care complex grow each day, with the first crane expected to be installed at the end of the month. Within the next few months, the skyline in west St. Catharines will be dotted with up to five cranes as the building foundation continues to develop.

The project, which is on schedule to open to patients in early 2013, was able to progress to today’s milestone following excavation work of the building footprint which was completed over the summer. This work, in addition to site servicing, grading and demolition, was completed by local St. Catharines contractor Rankin Construction and PCL, the general contractor for the project.

Following PCL’s open and competitive bid process, Lafarge Canada was selected as the successful contractor to construct the concrete structure; which when complete, will amass an astonishing 52,000 cubic metres. With local offices in Stoney Creek, Lafarge is the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in Canada and the United States.

PCL intends to use local sub-trades extensively, with the majority of on-site labour going to tradespersons in the Golden Horseshoe area. Recently, as part of the bid process, another local contractor from Stoney Creek, Harris Rebar was selected as the contractor responsible for the 843-tonne steel structure. As well, local St. Catharines company Peninsula Fencing and Landscaping completed the security fencing around the site.

PCL will continue to call for tenders from pre-qualified sub contractors for the project, with the majority of tendering activity taking place in early 2010. Firm commitments for portions of the work have already been made during the proposal stage of the project to subcontractors who participated in developing the lump sum construction cost.

Located at First Street and Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines, the new health-care complex project will provide a sizeable boost to the regional and Ontario economies during construction by directly and indirectly supporting and creating approximately 5,400 jobs, many of which will be in the Niagara region. At the peak of construction activity, about 1,000 workers are expected on the site daily.

In addition, approximately 200 new health-care jobs will be created once the facility opens to support the new regional services in cancer, cardiac and mental health disease.

The new health-care complex will be approximately 970,000 square feet and will be built on a 32-acre section of the 40-acre site in St. Catharines. It will be environmentally friendly and has been designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Environmental features include energy efficient lighting, cooling and heating, which will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The 375-bed replacement facility for the aging St. Catharines General and Ontario Street sites of the NHS will offer acute and critical inpatient services, surgical, emergency and ambulatory services available under one roof for the residents of St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the Lake and the area. The facility will feature 80 per cent single patient rooms, the most available in a community hospital in Ontario.


Important Construction Dates

Activity Start
Financial Close March 2009
Groundbreaking and Site Mobilization April 2009
Site Clearing and Topsoil Removal May 2009
Site Servicing June 2009
Bulk Excavation June 2009
Demolition July 2009
Concrete Structure August 2009
Crane Installation August 2009
Building Envelope May 2010
Interior Finishes June 2010
Substantial Completion November 2012


"Since the groundbreaking, we have been thrilled with the pace at which the project continues to progress and with this new milestone are excited for the community to see the building begin to take shape."
Betty Lou SouterChair, Niagara Health System Board of Trustees

"Today is a concrete sign that the project is progressing on schedule and is another significant milestone in our journey toward our new health-care facility that will replace two very outdated facilities in St Catharines and bring new, regional health-care services closer to home in Niagara, to benefit all Niagarans."
Debbie SevenpiferPresident and CEO, Niagara Health System

"This is an impressive milestone and in just a few short years, healthcare in Niagara will take a giant leap forward when the new hospital and regional health-care services opens to provide health care services to patients and families."
Jim BradleyMember of Provincial Parliament, St. Catharines

"We are committed to engaging in an open and competitive bid process and will continue to support the local sub-trades on this important project for the Niagara Region, with the majority of on-site labour going to tradespersons in the Golden Horseshoe area."
Mike MarascoPlenary Health CEO

"We are very excited to witness the first concrete pour for the new hospital, Walker Family Cancer Centre and Regional Mental Health Centre. This gives those of us who are fundraising a renewed since of urgency. Our fundraising is critical for the NHS to meet its local share of the cost of this project, as well as to raise the bar on healthcare delivery across the region - and we need everyone in Niagara to donate if we are to reach the $40-million campaign finish line."
Jan Cook, Archie Katzman, Mark Sherk and John WalkerIt’s Our Time Campaign volunteers

Niagara Health System