For those who have driven through a maze of green fence within the Royal University Hospital parkade, this is a moment you have been waiting for. Repairs to the Royal University Hospital (RUH) parkade are nearing completion, coming in under budget and on time.
"This is an exciting milestone for Saskatoon Health Region as repairs to the parkade have been underway since early winter of 2015," says Lisa White, Saskatoon Health Region's Director Support Services. "The two year project has caused significant inconvenience for our patients and families, along with our staff and physicians. However, this critical work was vital to the ongoing operation of the parkade and we really want to thank everyone for their patience in helping us get to this point."
Portions within the 1984-built parkade had to be closed as a precautionary measure in May 2013 due to early warning signs of structural issues. These issues were found following initial inspections related to site preparation for the construction of the new maternal and children's hospital. During that time, over 300 stalls were closed with temporary reinforcements put in place on levels 1, 2 and 3 to help strengthen the vertical structure while analysis began on that portion of the parkade's future.
September 2015, the Region made the decision to pursue a repair and maintenance plan financed by a loan. This meant repairing cables, reinforcing concrete, and replacing the surface membrane. Patient and family parking rates did not increase to pay for this work. However, there continues to be small, incremental increases in staff and physician rates across the Region to finance all parkade repairs and to fund ongoing maintenance. In
October 2015, tender for repair work was awarded, with an estimated price tag of just over $10 million and was scheduled to take about two years.
"The repair work was a complex process of inspecting and fixing steel cables, reinforcing concrete and replacing the surface membrane and required various stall and entrance/exit closures through the project," explains Dan DeForrest, Project Manager with Saskatoon Health Region. "In the end, we found more critical structural repairs than originally anticipated so it was absolutely the right decision to go ahead and proceed with the inspection and repair process to the extent we did. We have some minor work left, but by the end of September this project will finally be completed, about 3 months ahead of schedule."
The cost came in about $1 million less than anticipated. "Because those funds were approved to be borrowed, we were able to redirect that money to other necessary maintenance, including resurfacing work, in our other parkades," says White.
The Region does also warn that while the phase of RUH parkade repair work is completed, the disruptions at the site are far from over. This includes traffic flow changes as work continues on other projects, such as the building of the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital.
"The parking stalls that were closed due to the project construction have been opened, however, patients and visitors will notice some stalls will continue to be closed due to other related work, such as the new hospital construction," explains White. Currently, this project has been completing important infrastructure connection to RUH.
"Beside the new hospital construction, we have close to ten other projects going on at the RUH site such as water line repairs and maintenance, which are also causing disruptions in different ways and at different times and locations. Patients and families should still prepare themselves for significant delays when arriving at the site," says Luiza Kent-Smith, site leader for Royal University Hospital and Jim Pattison Children's Hospital. "We want to say thank-you to everyone, including our health care teams, for their continued patience. Also, we want to acknowledge the many commissionaires, shuttle drivers, and volunteer greeters who have and will continue to help inform and transport those visiting RUH. The good news is we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A year from now, this place will look very different and we are all anxious for that day."
Everyone arriving at RUH should continue to look for and follow traffic signage, and give yourself additional time to find parking.