After a decade of construction, the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital and cancer centre opened today. The $870-million will replace the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Hospital as the city’s acute care hospital.
“This will make a real and tangible impact in the lives of our residents,” said Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton.
Alberta Health Services president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu called the new hospital “a triumph well worth celebrating.”
The facility includes 243 private in-patient rooms, a 28-bed mental health unit and two radiation vaults to treat cancer patients. The hospital is the fifth in the province, and the only one in northern Alberta that offers radiation therapy. The hospital will serve as far north as the Northwest Territories, with patients as far south as Grande Cache and east as Peace River. Many of the GPRH's patients will be Indigenous Canadians that face a lack of medical access in the region, given the region's lack of hospitals.
“This means people from the Grande Prairie area no longer have to drive four-and-a-half hours to Edmonton for radiation treatment,” notes Minister Copping. “All told, we built this hospital ready for the future.”
The hospital will contain a Indigenous courtyard with a garden for the growing of traditional medicine, a teepee, a Red River cart, and an inukshuk, and will prioritize getting more Indigenous workers to the hospital.
Construction for the project officially began in 2007. After having failed to open by 2014, the opening date was pushed back to 2018, but the project fell behind schedule and $89 million over budget.
In 2018, the Notley government dismissed the contractor, Graham Construction, in favour of a new one, Clark Builders, which completed the work three months ahead of schedule.