It will likely be at least another year before the doors of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital open to the public. Although keys to the facility will be handed over the Alberta Health Services on July 1, 2020, the province notes it will take time to address deficiencies, clean and commission the facility, and train staff. It’s also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic could change timelines.

Premier Jason Kenney, as well as Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda and Health Minister Tyler Shandro, made the trip to Grande Prairie Friday to mark the end of construction alongside Finance Minister Travis Toews, Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard, and Stacy Greening, senior operating officer of Alberta Health Services North Zone. It began back in 2011 and was temporarily paused in 2018 when there was a change in contractors.

“This milestone is a significant one for the people of Grande Prairie who have been waiting for years for this facility,” says Premier Kenney. “The completion of construction means that AHS can get to work getting the hospital ready to serve the community. Once operational, this new hospital will ensure that Albertans across our province continue to have access to world-class health care.”

The building came with an $850.3 million price tag. The original contract set aside a budget of $319 million, which later increased to $763 million. Once open, the hospital will have 240 patient beds and a state-of-the-art cancer centre with two new radiation treatment areas and a health-care training facility to work in partnership with Grande Prairie Regional College.

“When we hand over the hospital to Alberta Health Services on July 1, we will have completed construction of the newest and most technologically advanced hospital in Alberta,” says Panda. “Needed public infrastructure projects like this are an integral part of Alberta’s economic recovery and keeping Albertans working.”

“This is fantastic news for people in and around Grande Prairie. We’re a big step closer to opening a new, modern hospital that will continue to provide high quality, publicly funded care to those who need it,” adds Shandro. “There’s still a lot of hard work ahead for AHS to commission the hospital but I’m looking forward to celebrating the grand opening with the people of Grande Prairie next year.”

Construction is reportedly finished three months ahead of Clark Builders’ initial schedule.