Children's Hospital in Saskatoon will be bigger: Health Minister
New design will be unveiled next week
A day after saying design work had been put on hold for a new Children's Hospital, Saskatchewan's Minister of Health says he is ready to unveil a new — larger — design for the facility in one week.
The facility, currently budgeted at $230 million and 152 beds, will be larger and more expensive, Dustin Duncan said Thursday.
He said he will unveil details of the changes on April 23.
"This isn't a re-write of the entire plans," Duncan told reporters at the legislature. "Basically a wall will be shifted. That changes the footprint, but it also will accommodate the additional beds."
The minister said the changes will add "millions" to the cost but declined to provide specifics until the announcement on Wednesday.
The Children's Hospital has been in the works for several years. It was finally approved as an add-on to the Royal University Hospital in the spring of 2007 in the final months of the previous NDP administration. At the time, the project was expected to cost from $100 million to $200 million with construction to start in 2010.
Duncan said the announcement on the changed design will take place in Saskatoon.
Meanwhile, members of the NDP Opposition say questions linger about how the design work was handled.
"We need to know why we got to this point," NDP leader Cam Broten said Thursday.
Duncan said earlier in April during a committee meeting of MLAs that the government's population estimates were too low.
"I think that, you know, our earlier numbers were maybe just a little, frankly, conservative," he said on April 10.
With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger