Since November 2011, the corner of Shirley Street and Elizabeth Avenue has played host to a myriad of onlookers.
Their subject: the ongoing construction of what can be considered the most important medical upgrade to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas since 1974.
The Critical Care Block at the Princess Margaret Hospital’s campus is scheduled for the end of August 2013 to be officially handed over to its owner from the construction and design teams that have made the campus its home for almost two years.
The dynamic project team at the helm of the mammoth project include Michael Diggiss and Associates as the Lead Consultant, he Beck Group as the Health Care Planners and Interior Designer, The Design Group as the Design Architect, Brown and Associates as the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineer, CSB Consultants as the Structural and Civil Engineer, Terrain Design and Management as the Landscape Architect and Veritas Consultants as the Cost Consultant and Quantity Surveyor.
The General Contractor is Cavalier Construction.
"As the Lead Consultant for the project, I am most proud of the fact that the Project Team is comprised of mostly Bahamian Consultants, and even the Beck Group, the Health Care Planners, is headed by a Bahamian, Fred Perpall, working on what has been described as the most significant Health Care Project for The Bahamas, said Diggiss"
Originally conceptualized as a three-suite surgical wing and recovery bay, the $54 million project will now host some 18 key hospital units under its roof. Once completed the nearly 100,000 square foot building with house six stare-of-the-art surgical suites, 18 recovery beds, 20 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rooms, 48 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds, new laboratory facilities, new MSSD and CSSD as well as a new chapel, healing garden and upgraded supporting spaces for the building.
This makes the new site the single largest investment at the hospital in 60 years. The Critical Care Block is funded through a partnership (loan) acquired by the Public Hospital’s Authority (PHA) through the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
With more than $20 million in furniture and state-of-the-art medical equipment currently being installed, the building is in its testing phase with teams tirelessly working to guarantee a full-functioning hospital wing at turnover time.
"This project is a testament to the advancement and maturation of the local professional and their ability to meaningfully collaborate with international partners,” said John Michael Clarke, the project’s quantity surveyor.” The entire project team has been dedicated to exploring and developing building solutions and processes with the goal being a timely well-constructed project that fits its budgetary constraints."
Externally the CCB features a grand entrance staircase leading through a Memorial Plaza that gradually elevates some 20 feet from the base of Shirley Street to the new hospital entrance. This Memorial Plaza will have the names of the buildings, which the new block has replaced, etched in its cemented walls along with a fountain as a tribute.
The new facilities will be more energy efficient as well with the introduction of a 180,000 gallon water-retention tank that will collect all rain water and condensed liquid from the air conditioning units, along with a Reverse Osmosis system to provide RO water to the Building. There will be the use of solar panels to provide alternate energy supply to some of the exterior lights
Once a mere unorganized parking lot, the new Critical Care Block is poised to not only help the citizens of the Bahamas medically but it will also encourage a dialogue for an expansion into the field of medical tourism for not only the region but the world.