Provincial government and Fraser Health officials gather for the 'topping off' ceremony at Surrey Memorial Hospital's ne Critical Care Tower.

SMH critical care tower reaches milestone

'Topping off' ceremony caps concrete work on eight-floor complex

Surrey Memorial Hospital reached a construction milestone Monday with one year left until its new eight-floor Critical Care Tower opens.

Officials were on hand for a “topping off” ceremony – traditional in big projects – where the last section of concrete was poured in the top floor of the building.

The $512-million tower will include a new emergency department, replacing one of Canada’s busiest, and a new 48-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that will serve high-risk babies and families from all over B.C. Also part of the redevelopment are expanded intensive-care and high-acuity units.

“Our vision was to create a world-class health campus and model medical community that would serve the Fraser Health region,” Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Nigel Murray said.

“With the topping of the Critical Care Tower, our dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.”

Health minister Margaret MacDiarmid said the new tower will bring 650 permanent new health care jobs to Surrey, including 50 new physicians.

The new emergency department will be bolstered by the opening of the rest of the eight-floor tower in 2014. With 151 new beds being added to Surrey Memorial, the total number of beds will be 650, increasing capacity by 30 per cent.

The Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation will also provide $15 million in funding for new equipment, or 20 per cent of the equipment budget.

The project is in addition to the $237-million Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre that opened nearby in mid-2011, taking over day surgery and many diagnostics to help relieve pressure on SMH.