John Moorhouse is the development and communications officer for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.

2017: A year of growth at Penticton Regional Hospital

The $312.5-million PRH construction project is now more than half-way towards completion.

This past year has seen tremendous growth at Penticton Regional Hospital – both from a construction point of view and for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s fundraising campaign for the medical equipment required by the hospital expansion.

The $312.5-million PRH construction project is now more than half-way towards completion. The new six-storey patient care tower will open for patients on April 29, 2019.

The new tower is being named after Penticton businessman David Kampe in recognition of his donations to PRH since 2011 which have totalled almost $8 million – with $2 million going directly to the SOS Medical Foundation’s $20-million fundraising drive.

Related: Hospital tower to be named after local philanthropist

A special recognition ceremony was held on March 3, 2017 when Interior Health announced the new building will be named the David E. Kampe Tower. The ceremony coincided with the announcement that Kampe has donated $1.4 million for PRH to acquire a SPECT-CT unit – a key piece of nuclear medicine equipment for cancer and heart patients. Its inclusion in the new tower will also mean breast cancer patients undergoing surgery in Penticton, will no longer have to first travel to Kelowna General Hospital for pre-surgical procedures prior to heading back to PRH for the operation.

“Cardiac patients wait up to six months for a Nuclear Medicine scan at KGH,” said Dr. Tracy Chandler, a PRH radiologist. “A local program will provide more compassionate and timely access to nuclear medicine services.”

On Oct. 27, a special “topping off” ceremony was held as the final steel beam for the new tower was raised into place. The beam had been signed by hundreds of hospital staff and members of the public to help mark the halfway point in the PRH tower construction.

Related: Important milestone for hospital

Among the many dignitaries attending the event was Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“The measurement of the David E. Kampe Tower represents more than the metres of rebar placed and the volume of concrete poured, but the foundation of public health care it strengthens within the community,” Dix said.

Patients will benefit from a new ambulatory care centre, five new operating rooms, a rooftop helipad and space for an expansion of the UBC Facility of Medicine program in the South Okanagan. The top three floors will feature 84 single-patient rooms to improve infection control and provide patients with better rest.

Site work is now underway on a 480-stall parkade being built immediately south of the new tower.

Meanwhile, the SOS Medical Foundation’s efforts to provide the medical equipment for the hospital expansion continue to progress. By mid-December, almost $15.5 million in donations and pledges had been received.

“We are continually amazed at the generosity of residents, businesses and service groups throughout the South Okanagan-Similkameen,” said Carey Bornn, the Medical Foundation’s executive director. “It reflects the tremendous support our hospital has received from our entire community.”

Following the opening of the new tower in the spring of 2019, work will then begin on Phase 2 of the hospital expansion – including a major upgrade to the PRH Emergency Department.

John Moorhouse is the development and communications officer for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation. For information on donating, please call 250-492-9027 or visit our website sosmedicalfoundation.com.

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