Heartland selects architects to design new facilities


September 7, 2009

According to Pierrepont, four architectural firms were interviewed and Winnipeg-based ft3 Architecture Landscape Interior Design was awarded the contract.

Residents in the Rosetown, Kerrobert and Biggar areas are one step closer to having new health care facilities.

Heartland Health Region's Wayne Pierrepont is project manager for the new long term care facilities about to be designed for the three West Central Saskatchewan communities.

According to Pierrepont, four architectural firms were interviewed and Winnipeg-based ft3 Architecture Landscape Interior Design was awarded the contract. Heartland advertised in Saskatchewan, but did receive tenders from inside and outside the province after sending out a request for qualifications.

Pierrepont said the firms went in a written submission and were then given an interview. Heartland officials took staff availability, experience in health care and costs into consideration.

They were all very good presentations,: he said. "However, ft3 had the right combination of their written presentation, their oral presentation and in general, the experience that they brought to the table."

Pierrepont noted that ft3 won a national design competition for the RCMP barracks they designed for Regina.

Although the appointment has been made, he said there's no telling how much money the architects will cost the region because fees are set through negotiations between the government of Saskatchewan and various architects associations.

"There is a set fee structure in Saskatchewan for architectural firms that do architectural work and it's based on a percentage of the value of the project," he said, adding that percentage in known beforehand.

Even throughout the design process, Pierrepont said only a plus-minus figure can be calculated to within a percentage of how much each facility will cost in the end.

Regardless, the communities of Rosetown, Kerrobert and Biggar will be paying a hefty chunk of the overall cost.

"It's the responsibility of the communities to raise roughly 35 per cent of the cost of the new facility," he said. "The government of Saskatchewan, through the region, funds about 65 per cent."

The communities will also have to pay for furnishings and change orders over and above what's allowed within the contract.

Pierrepont said Heartland has already received $36.2 million from the province, with that amount being an estimate, for what the province believes will cover its 65 per cent share of the price tag.

Kerrobert has been approved for an integrated facility that will include long-term care and acute-care because the town's current facility is integrated.

Heartland originally announced that the building in Kerrobert was only going to be for long-term care, but in mid-June the regional health authority announced that town would get an integrated facility after all.

No final decisions have been made on whether either of the facilities in Rosetown or Biggar would be integrated, but Pierriepont said each facility will have differences.

"Each one of the projects will have their own uniqueness," he said, noting that emergency, lab and X-ray services all get thrown into the mix when you add acute care to the mix.

Pierrepont said the traffic flows and design of the buildings must accommodate all services by including dietary, maintenance and housekeeping. Heartland is going through approval processes, including the needs' assessments for each facility.

"We're working towards getting the functional plan started andg getting the architects out to start talking to staff and looking at some designs, but it isa process and we are working towards it right now," Pierrepont added.

Brian Tokar, one of the architectural firm's partners, said ft3 is looking forward to working with Heartland and all communities involved in the projects.

"We're very delighted to have been selected as architects and look forward to association with the respective communities and representatives of the Heartland Regional Health Authority to a successful project completion, keeping in mind that we are looking for green and sustainable solutions for the projects," he said.

Tokar mentioned that the projects will include geothermal heating and cooling, a high performance building envelope, low-flow bathroom fixtures, using recycled product and using environmentally friendly paints as part of the sustainable plan.

Heartland is completing its needs' assessment for the region and Tokar said once that is finished, it would be normal for the firm to begin its functional programming services for each of the facilities.

However, Tokar said Jerald Peters, the lead architect for the projects, informed him that the firm has been given permission to start the functional program because there would be some delays with the needs' assessment.

Tokar estimated it would be six-to-eight weeks before the program is completed. After it's approved by Heartland officials, the firm can start on design work including conceptual and schematic designs.

Functional programming "establishes the functional needs of the facility," he said, adding it gives the firm a broader context to work with. However, the differences between designing and integrated facility versus a long-term care centre depend largely on the nature of the design relative to the functional program.

Tokar said he met with representatives from Kerrobert to discuss ideas.

"I know through workshops, we worked very closely with the representatives from Kerrobert to look at various options in the conceptual stage and come up with a solution that is representative of their needs," he said.

According to Tokar, his firm recently completed work on a 55-room acute-care hospital and community care project in Swan River, Man. Also, health care projects in Calgary, Winnipeg and Fisher Branch, Man. have either been started or completed.

Stewart Severson, chair of the Kerrobert-Luseland District Health Foundation, with the town can't participate in fundraising efforts until he know s how much money the community will have to spend.

Although Seversen believes it will be somewhere in the $5 million range, he said the stakeholders will simply have to wait for the architects to finish their work.

"We're kind of sitting in limbo right now until we find an actual number and it's going to take the functional planning to be able to five us a number and find out what we have to raise," he said.

Seversen, who is also chair of West Central Economic Development, said letters have been sent out to corporate citizens asking for more funding, but he needs actual numbers to acquire local funds.

The former RM of Mariposa reeve, Seversen, said the facility will also be shared by the towns of Major and Luseland, along with the RMs of Heart's Hill, Progress, Mariposa, Oakdale, Prairiedale and Antelope Park.

"We have people in place ready to go to work," he said, noting that he hopes some local contractors are chosen for the work. "This project will be tendered by one big contractor and he will look after the electrical and the mechanical and everything else."

Seversen said the new facility will provide area residents with important continued health care, but also the investment in the region is good for its economy.

"This is economic development," he said. "This is a heck of a pile of money being spent here and in Rosetown and in Biggar and it's excellent."

The ft3 firm will be working with other consultants including Brownlee Beaton Kreke of Winnipeg and Regina, Alfa Engineering of Regina and HDA Engineering of Regina for structural, electrical and mechanical services respectively.