Cambridge Memorial Hospital took possession of its new 250,000-square-foot A wing

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After years of delays, Cambridge Memorial Hospital took possession of its new 250,000-square-foot A wing last week, and started a 10-week process to prepare it for patient care.

“Today marks the beginning of a new healthcare chapter in Cambridge and North Dumfries,” says Patrick Gaskin, president and CEO.

“We have a beautiful, modern health care facility that will serve our community for generations. We could not have done it without the patience of our staff, physicians, midwives and volunteers and the support of our generous community.”

This day was a long time coming, after three years of delays. Bondfield Construction was supposed to finish the wing in November 2016.

In November 2018, Gaskin wrote an open letter to the community regarding the construction delays.

“Months have passed with little construction work being done,” he wrote. “Work slowed when subcontractors stopped coming on site. The subcontractors claimed they were not getting paid by the contractor. By September, Zurich Insurance got involved to settle their claims.”

He called the delays “disappointing, frustrating, concerning and unbelievable.”

With the building completed, Gaskin says his focus will be on equipping the building and training about 2,000 staff, physicians, midwives and volunteers to the new wing. Also, 85 vendors have been scheduled to install and test clinical equipment before patient care can begin.

On Saturday Jan. 18, 2020, the Emergency Department (ED) will be the first program to open its doors to patients in the new wing. Following the ED’s move, Intensive Care, Medicine A, Birthing, Women and Children and Mental Health programs will transfer their patients over that weekend. The state-of-the-art operating rooms will be put into service later in the spring.

A community open house is being planned to give the public a look inside areas that would otherwise be closed for patient care. This event will take place on Saturday, January 11, one week before the wing is opened to patients.

Inpatient Surgery, Medicine B and Rehabilitation programs are remaining in their respective locations until work begins in Wing B.

The new wing alone carried a price tag of $65 million.

Gaskin said “major and minor deficiencies” that were identified at the September hospital board meeting, have now been corrected. Some of the issues encountered included fixing exterior aluminum doors, sealing the roof and repairing exterior cladding.

Despite the extended delays, Gaskin said there will be no penalties levied against Bondfield.

The next phase of the hospital’s overall $187 million capital redevelopment plan is the refurbishment of B wing, which is expected to take two years. A contractor has not been chosen for that phase of the project.

A new contractor will be chosen to pick up the project “midstream,” as well as having to finish work that may have been deferred from the first two phases of the reconstruction.

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