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Opening of St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt, Sunshine Coast

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St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt is a new facility, which balances state-of-the-art care with a connection to nature that fosters health and healing.

Opening celebration

Farrow Partnership Architects and Perkins+Will joined Vancouver Coastal Health, the citizens of the Sunshine Coast and members of the Sechelt Indian Band on Wednesday, March 20 to celebrate the official opening of the newly expanded St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.

Adding benefits

The 5,400-square-metre addition includes new, larger emergency and radiology departments, intensive care rooms, and a new labour and delivery unit, all of which are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. The project also accommodates two new floors of single-occupancy inpatient rooms that provide the highest standard of infection control. The new and existing hospital buildings are organized around a light-filled lobby, which marks the new main entrance to the hospital.

A collaborative project

“We are so pleased to see this community hospital open to the public,” said Kirsten Reite, healthcare practice leader at Perkins+Will’s Vancouver office. “The new facility was designed in association with Farrow Partnership Architects, and together our firms are extremely proud to have worked alongside Vancouver Coastal Health and a dedicated consultant team in delivering a facility that will offer residents the best care possible for many years to come.”

“The design team set out to reflect Indigenous themes and take advantage of the site’s natural beauty,” said Tye Farrow, senior partner at Farrow Partnership Architects. “Our team took inspiration from the cedar bent-box, unique to the coastal First Nations. In this concept, the bent-box holds our most precious possession: our health.”

Community partnerships

Members of the Sechelt Indian Band played an important role in the design process, emphasizing connections to nature and promoting overall health and healing. In addition to on-site respite gardens, patient rooms have large windows that maximize natural daylight and spectacular views of the Strait of Georgia.

“I would like to thank Vancouver Coastal Health and St. Mary’s Hospital for reaffirming their commitment to the Sechelt Indian Band for our donation of the land to centralize the hospital on the Sunshine Coast,” Chief Gary Feshuck said. “Thanks also to the architects and their team for showcasing our culture in the design of the building. We are as proud of it as we are the artwork that will be displayed for everyone to view and appreciate.”

Working with sustainable design

Targeting LEED Gold certification, St. Mary’s Hospital was designed with the goal of becoming North America’s first carbon-neutral hospital. In addition to a high-performance building envelope, the project includes 125 boreholes, each 250 feet deep, which provide a source of zero-carbon energy for heating and cooling the building.

Signs of success

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of so many people, St. Mary’s will have state-of-the-art medical technology, superior standards of infection control and almost double the amount of space — all in an environmentally responsible building that we can be proud of,” said Wendy Hansson, chief operating officer at Vancouver Coastal Health. “This will enable staff and physicians to provide the best quality of patient care to Sunshine Coast residents and offer a leading-edge example of modern health care.”

The final phase of the project is expected to be complete by spring 2014 and will include renovations to the existing building, including the Ambulatory Care Unit and Mental Health Unit.