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July 6, 2018

Behind the Walls of the David E. Kampe Tower

Welcome to the fifth in a series of stories dedicated to profiling the people working together to keep the wheels moving at Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH). These stories showcase the important work being done each day and highlight the enhancements soon to come with the new David E. Kampe Tower, scheduled to open in late April, 2019.
 
As you walk through the under-construction David E. Kampe Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital, several things strike you.
 
Expansive windows bring in a lot of natural light; single patient rooms — each with their own bathroom — will provide privacy and help infection control; large operating rooms will give doctors and nurses exceptional working space.
 
And these are just a few of the many things you’ll notice in the state of the art tower - named for Penticton philanthropist David E. Kampe - when it opens in April 2019.
 
But what’s lurking behind the walls?
 
As the tower goes up and Ellis Don Infrastructure works toward completion of the project, it’s perhaps the only time one can see what goes into construction of the new $312.46 million hospital tower. 
 
When complete, it’s going to modernize health care for people living in Penticton and the South Okanagan.
 
“It’s obviously a complex undertaking to plan and construct a six-storey hospital tower as an addition to the existing Penticton Regional Hospital,” said Interior Health project manager Michael Morton. “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on, both at the site and in the planning stages. With the opening of April 2019 approaching, crews are hard at work to make sure everything gets done on time.”
 
 

PRH Patient Care Tower project manager Michael Morton looks at the copper insulation as part of the new MRI suite at PRH.
 
Construction of the David E. Kampe Tower began back in May of 2016 when crews broke ground on the project. When it comes to PCT Champions, crews that have been on site building the tower since construction began have been putting their heart and soul into the project. In May of 2016 there may have been just a handful of workers to begin the job but now close to 400 are on site every day in this final year of construction.
 
Not only has a lot of people-power gone into building the new tower, there has been a ton of supplies used as well. More than 22,000 cubic metres of concrete has been poured on the site, building the foundation of the new tower as well as the nearby parkade.
 
Also used in construction were 2.4 million kilograms of rebar, 140,000 kg of structural steel along with 50,000 square metres of drywall. Hundreds of exterior windows have been installed. Inside the hospital walls it’s even more impressive as thousands of metres of wiring will seamlessly connect the modern facility.
 
In fact all-told there is 460 kilometres of various cables that will connect the PRH PCT from low voltage cable for the nurse-call system to security and panic systems as well as the Interior Health Network. Four-thousand gallons of paint will be used in finishing the building.
 
The first floor will feature a brand new SOS Café as well as a gift shop but the most impressive feature may be the stand alone MRI suite, as part of the medical imaging department. MRI’s, with their intense magnetic pull, need to be housed in a fully protected room. A thin sheet of copper lines the inside of the walls and ceiling, as the MRI room is built like a room, within a room.
 
The second floor features a series of large operating room theatres, along with the urology suite, itself lined with lead as a protective measure. The third floor features UBC space to train more health care workers, along with meeting rooms and a brand new Medical Device Reprocessing department, that will clean and sterilize surgical equipment, consolidated in one space.
 
Floors four through six are the inpatient units with single patient rooms, each with their own bathroom, and again, large windows bringing in natural light to help patient care.  The seventh floor is a mechanical room and on top of that is the heli-pad, drastically improving PRH’s ability to transfer patients. It’s also one of the best views in Penticton with Skaha Lake to the south and Okanagan Lake to the north.
 
“The new equipment and updated environment is an undeniable benefit, but simply having so much natural light in the building is going to be fantastic, both for patients and for staff,” said Maureen Thomson, PRH’s acute health services director, noting that user groups who have been touring the tower have been very pleased. “It’s been very uplifting. Everyone is completely in awe. It’s massive, airy and beautiful. It’s really coming together.”
 
Once the new Patient Care Tower is completed, renovations in the existing hospital will begin with completion anticipated in April 2021.
 
 
At six storeys high and 275,000 square feet, the David E. Kampe patient care tower will increase capacity and functionality of ambulatory care services, include five new operating rooms, 84 new single patient rooms, a rooftop helipad and space to allow the UBC Faculty of Medicine program to expand. The new Patient Care Tower project will also accommodate renovations to significantly expand the emergency department and update the pharmacy, supplies and equipment stores in the existing hospital.

 

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