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$1.5M renovation to Sundridge medical centre to start in November

The medical centre will continue to operate during the renovations
Sundridge medical centre
After years of false starts, the medical centre in Sundridge will finally be renovated. Work on the $1.5-million project is expected to get underway in early November.

Work to renovate the Sundridge and District Medical Centre is expected to begin in early November.

Village of Sundridge clerk administrator Nancy Austin says the requests for proposals went out the first week of October, a process expected to last four weeks to see what comes in and who gets selected to do the work.

Austin told the Sundridge and District Medical Centre Committee that once the contract is awarded, the work will begin immediately.

Austin says the medical centre will continue to operate during the renovations, which means personnel will transition from one side of the building to the other so the contractors can carry out their work.

“It will be a hectic time period during all the renovations,” Austin told the committee members.

“There will be lots of adjustments, like going through a temporary entrance.”

The medical centre is a shared service between the Village of Sundridge, the Township of Strong and Joly Township.

Strong will absorb 50 percent of the renovation costs, while Sundridge covers 40 percent and Joly pays the remaining 10 percent.

The approximately $1.5-million project is divided into three parts.

Austin says Phase A will take place over November, December and January, and include the creation of a new entrance and ramp, in addition to renovations to the old nurse practitioner's area.

Phase B involves renovations to the doctors' side of the building, while the last phase will improve the parking lot.

Approval of the renovations has taken years and is mostly due to numerous false starts on the project.

At a regular council meeting in May, where Sundridge gave its one-third approval to the project, Coun. Steve Hicks said the renovations today are as high as they are because over successive terms, the three municipal councils could never unanimously agree on how to move the project forward.

He said at one time, rather than renovate the medical centre, the committee was asked to look for a piece of land where an entirely new building could be built.

Hicks said everyone had the best intentions, but the project to erect a new building never got off the ground.

The consequence was staff at the medical centre staying put and continuing to work in a facility that was badly in need of major renovations.

The medical centre has only one physician, Dr. Sarah MacKinnon.

Hicks, the medical centre committee and area town council members all agree that having an updated medical centre will help attract a second doctor to the region.

Hicks said at the May council meeting that the current state of the building was not conducive to attracting a second physician.

Bertrand Wheeler Architecture of North Bay has been carrying out the design work for the renovation.

The renovation is expected to be completed sometime in 2022.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.