On March 24, Interior Health took possession of the new Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Tower (formerly the Patient Care Tower) at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.
The construction phase of the tower is now complete, and the facility — serving patients throughout the Thompson, Cariboo, and Shuswap regions — is set to open to patients in mid-July, 2022.
The nine-storey tower is a $417-million project that was commissioned in 2011 and designed with direct input from local health care workers. There will be one main entrance, and the tower will feature single-patient rooms equipped with their own washrooms, which will enhance privacy and infection prevention and control measures. There will also be large spaces for families to gather, and the ability for Indigenous smudging practices to occur in patient rooms.
The tower will include child and adolescent mental health services, maternal and child health services, respiratory therapy services, surgical suites, and a mental health and substance use inpatient unit. A new rooftop helipad will eliminate the need for an ambulance, as patients can be brought directly to the trauma rooms in the tower.
Each floor will feature a spirit animal motif as selected by Secwépemc Elders and supported by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief and Council. The first floor will also feature a cultural wall, which will be an artistic representation of the Indigenous communities that make up Secwepemcúlecw.
Construction began on the tower in September 2018. After it opens to patients, Phase 2 renovations will start. They will include significant renovation and expansion to the emergency department, pediatrics, and post-anaesthetic recovery.
“We are thrilled that the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Tower at RIH has met this significant milestone,” said Ken Christian, Kamloops mayor and chair of the TRHD. “This is an important project for everyone throughout our region. Our city has been through a lot and we are looking forward to seeing the positive impact this hospital tower will have on the care of patients in Kamloops and across the region in the years to come.”
The project budget is shared between the Ministry of Health ($203 million), Interior Health ($22 million), the Thompson Regional Hospital District ($172 million), and the RIH Foundation ($20 million). The TRHD is funded through taxes collected from property owners in the region, including those in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Clinton.
In 2021, the Gaglardi family donated $15 million to the RIH Foundation and Interior Health for the new tower; the largest-ever donation to both organizations. The gift leaves about $10 million left to raise to reach the goal of $35 million to buy new hospital equipment for the tower.
The new tower’s name honours longtime Kamloops residents Phil and Jennie Gaglardi. Phil Gaglardi was a Social Credit MLA from 1952 to 1972 and mayor of Kamloops from 1988 to 1990. During his time as an MLA he served as Highways Minister for many years, earning the nickname “Flying Phil” for his propensity for getting speeding tickets while driving around the province.