The Summerland Health Care Auxiliary has a given the new patient care tower project at Penticton Regional Hospital a million-dollar shot in the arm.
The auxiliary, which has operated its Thrift Shop on Victoria Road for decades, pledged to raise $1 million over the next five years towards the $20-million fundraising campaign by the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.
Auxiliary president Wess Campbell said it wasn’t a tough decision to back the foundation’s campaign, emphasizing the organization will still be able to donate to other charity groups as well.
“We looked at what we had done over the last five years and we thought: ‘Yes, we should be able to do this,’” he said. “We can make a commitment and hopefully we won’t have to downsize donations to anyone else.”
The Thrift Shop, run entirely by auxiliary volunteers, generates about $320,000 a year in net revenue. This donation will be used to acquire all the medical equipment for the $325-million expansion at PRH.
“We have great support from the community in donations and they’re willing to come in and shop at our store,” Campbell said.
Janice Perrino, the foundation’s executive director, said it’s hoped that other organizations, businesses and individuals will follow the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary’s lead.
“This organization has, with this gift, started the process of major gifts coming forward,” Perrino said. “They’re lighting the fire for other organizations. I’m just so impressed and thrilled.”
Perrino is hoping to see other groups, companies, individuals coming forward to offer financial support for the expansion project.
“People have really begun to think about this, so we are thrilled. It is only going to be happening because of people, whether they are with a group, with a company or on their own,” said Perrino.
The foundation, Perrino explained, needs to be able to make their first gift to Interior Health and the government in the second year of construction.
“We will need to have $7 million in the bank by that point. We have a lot of work to do,” said Perrino, who added that everything is moving forward on schedule.
The patient care tower will include new surgical rooms, 84 single-patient rooms, ambulatory care clinics and other facilities. The project will take place in two phases over four to five years.
During Phase 1, construction activity will be centred on the new seven-storeytower to be located on the southern portion of the existing PRH parking lot. An adjacent parkade will provide space for more than 500 vehicles.
Phase 2 will see the hospital’s present front lobby and adjacent offices become part of an enlarged emergency department, almost four times the size of the existing emergency room.
The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District will fund $122 million (40 per cent) of the construction cost, while the provincial government and its private sector P3 partner will pay about $183 million (60 per cent).
The province is scheduled to select its P3 partner in the fall of 2015. Construction will start in the spring of 2016 and should be completed by late 2019.
For more information about donating to the campaign, contact the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation at 250-492-9027 or toll-free 1-866-771-0994. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.sosmedicalfoundation.com.