Largest healthcare construction project “ever” in Ottawa to take shape over six phases: Ottawa Hospital CEO

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

The new $2.8 billion Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus project is “definitely the largest healthcare project that we built in Ottawa ever” and will create thousands of construction jobs through the decade, Ottawa Hospital Chief Executive Officer Cameron Love says.

Speaking at a presentation at the 33rd Merkley Supply Ltd. show on March 21, Love outlined the project’s six phases as initial construction activity – a parking garage near Dow’s Lake – takes shape.

The hospital and contracting consortium PCL/EllisDon are currently working out the numbers and detailed plans and construction schedule for the main hospital building, an H-shaped structure with more than 600 single-patient rooms in towers connected to the main entrance with a central emergency department and dozens of operating rooms, along with a roof-top helipad.

Along with the main building, Ottawa Hydro will oversee construction of a 150,000 sq. ft. central utility plant, that will serve the entire completed hospital campus with other nearby buildings on the Central Experimental Farm.

cameron love with robert merkley
The Ottawa Hospital CEO Cameron Love with Robert Merkley

Love said the hospital has just received approval for the project’s fourth stage, a research building occupying “3,000 sq. ft. of plate” over three stories that will initially include  monotherapies manufacturing and a neuroscience research centres – with capacity to add an additional eight floors over time.

Phase five will be an innovation centre, to be built to develop resources and tools in co-operation with upwards of 35 private sector organizations.

The last phase will be the relocation of the hospital’s Heart Institute; it has been expanded and refurbished at its current location on the existing Civic Campus, but will be ready for a move by the time the rest of the new hospital structure is developed and the existing 100-year-old Civic Hospital building is demolished, to be replaced with new Long Term Care facilities.

After the presentation, an audience member asked if there will be problems in maintaining the construction schedule and budget if there is a shortage of skilled tradespeple. Love said the contractors are working through these issues now and are making detailed plans to ensure the project schedule can be achieved.

Overall, the hospital project is one of Canada’s largest healthcare construction initiatives, Love said; likely the third largest in the country.

In a follow-up presentation, Tim Kluke, president and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, says the hospital has so far raised $310 million of the targeted $500 million community contribution. Both executives thanked Robert Merkley for his support for the hospital.

The hospital presentation was one of several seminars and technical programs at the MSL show, in its 33rd year. (For two years during the pandemic, it operated as a virtual/limited access event.)

The show attracted hundreds of Ottawa’s contractors, designers, owners, architects and engineers to the Ottawa Convention and Event Centre.

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