(Saskatoon) - Two months since main building construction began for Saskatchewan's new maternal and children's hospital, two massive cranes are now in place, changing the skyline in Saskatoon.
"The large crane is 72 meters high, which is about 236 feet, and will be in place over the next three years," says Craig Ayers, Saskatoon Health Region's project director for Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan. "It will allow Graham Construction to lift equipment and supplies from the back side of the parkade over controlled travel paths across the parkade itself or drive lanes in order to get those materials into the construction site."
The large crane took three days to install, with a smaller mobile crane being used to lift the mast and other components to about 50 meters. The tower was then jacked to install final components to achieve the required 72 meter height. Fourteen semi-trailer loads were used to bring in all the pieces.
A steel structure will be built over the top floor of the parkade to create a safe control zone, with the columns of the structure supported by the parkade's structural columns. This is where materials will be safely transferred over the parking structure and into the site. There also will be a safe control zone over the vehicle drive lanes to bring materials from the laydown area into the construction site.
"Crane operators will be able to signal when parkade vehicle traffic will have to stop in order to maintain safety when construction materials are hoisted over. We will be doing what we can to minimize disruptions, particularly during peak traffic times," says Ayers.
A smaller crane has also been installed and will be used over the couple years until the main shell of the building is completed. It will be dismantled once the shell of the hospital is completed. The focus of construction activity over the past two months has been excavation work to prepare for these two cranes, the re-routing of sewer and water lines to prepare for additional piling work, and pouring of concrete piling caps, slabs and grade beams for the building's foundation.
"We need an additional 60 piles in place which could only be built once main building construction started. But, given the location of those, we first had to move existing water and sewer lines and complete the work before winter," says Ayers. "Crews are continuing to expose the tops of the existing 240 piles, create forms with rebar and pour concrete to create piling caps. This is where the building columns and other structural pieces will sit and will be the foundation for the hospital."
To date, construction of the $285.2 million hospital is about 3% complete, with opening currently projected for 2019.
"It is very exciting to see progress being made on the construction of the Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan," Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. "We thank both the Saskatoon Health Region and the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan for their ongoing efforts and support as this exceptional facility takes shape."
The provincial government has funded $235.5 million (82.5%) of capital costs with Saskatoon Health Region covering 7.5% ($21.4 million) and $28.3 million (10%) funded through the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan capital campaign.
"Seeing construction in full swing gives us added momentum in continuing to push ahead with our fundraising efforts to ensure that the maternal and children's hospital is a special place for Saskatchewan families," says Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.
Crews also continue to put in place additional safety measures as a result of last month's safety incident. At the end of October, construction was halted after the forks from a forklift accidently pierced the windows in room in the same day surgery area on the main floor of Royal University Hospital (RUH). No one was in the immediate area at the time, and no one was hurt. But a comprehensive review of the site safety plan was completed before construction resumed a few days later.
"Graham Construction has now placed plywood barriers over the RUH main and ground floor windows exposed to the construction site. They have also put in place additional fencing on the top level of the parkade," says Ayers. "Mesh covering will also be put in place on all levels of the parkade to protect everyone and minimize the potential of debris coming into the work area from the parking structure."
Another important safety measure implemented was to remove the ground level pedestrian pathway from the RUH parkade that runs next to the construction site to the escalator pod/RUH pedway. This was done to ensure pedestrians are not exposed to the high volume of vehicular and construction traffic in this area.
Through the rest of November and December, work will focus on completing the foundation concrete work, as well as creating the structural steel protection over the site's existing parkade.
Saskatoon Health Region would like to remind all those driving to Royal University Hospital that construction zones will continue to change, affecting the flow of traffic in and out of the site. Everyone is reminded to give themselves additional time when driving to the site, and to drive slowly and follow signage.
Construction of the new hospital can be monitored via the site's webcam at saskchildrenshopspital.ca. Follow the latest with construction and planning for the new hospital at facebook.com/childrenhospSK or twitter.com/childrenhospSK.
- 30 –