Preparing the new hospital site for success

Early site works well underway at WLMH

With the ground officially “broken” on the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH), attention has quickly turned toward prepping the site for the build.

Early site works, which generally refers to activities required to prepare the site for construction, have been taking place since the end of April. This includes removing trees which were in the path of construction (35 were removed, with 122 new trees to be planted over the course of the project), locating and moving existing mechanical systems, and decommissioning some physical spaces connected to the existing hospital.

RELATED: New WLMH a done deal

“Depending on the site, there can be significant work needed to make it a safe, blank slate for excavation,” said Kelly Campbell, VP, Corporate Services and Capital Development at Hamilton Health Sciences. “The WLMH build site is pretty open, but it has a relatively small footprint so there is some demolition work that needs to be done ahead of construction. From the street, it may not look like much is happening at the moment, but there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and on site.”

Notably, there is a service corridor connecting the existing hospital and Deer Park Villa located at the north end of the property. This enclosed walkway, which includes the WLMH kitchen used by hospital Nutrition Services, will be need to be removed ahead of construction. A new home for Nutrition Services – the team and area responsible for feeding inpatients – has been created inside the hospital and the walkway will soon be hoarded off and taken down.

Another early works change happening at the site will involve an alternate plan for some site parking. Parts of the existing lot will be converted to construction access, and hoarding is planned to be erected during the coming month. To offset parking demand at the site, HHS has struck a partnership with a nearby church for staff and physician parking through the week. Parking spaces at the site will be reserved for patients and families, and a small number for emergency on-call physicians.

“We knew from the beginning that access to the build site and parking would be something we need to address. With the support of our church partner, we’ve created a suitable off-site parking arrangement for our staff and physicians during the construction period,” said Campbell, noting that once the new hospital is built and the existing hospital is removed, on-site parking at WLMH will grow considerably.

Probably the biggest change in the coming weeks will be the addition of construction office trailers at the front of the hospital. While not an early site work per se, nothing screams progress like a build team setting up a field office on-site. Once positioned, the trailers will be surrounded by hoarding and wrapped with project signage, creating a safe space on-site for project meetings to take place outside of the existing hospital building.

So, when will ground actually be broken on the new hospital?

“Early works will continue over the summer and into the beginning of fall, at which time excavation and construction can start. This will continue through to fall 2024, when we can start moving furniture and fixtures in and commissioning the building. Substantial Completion is targeted for early 2025 and patients will be able to receive care in the new hospital shortly after that,” said Campbell.

New West Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a done deal!

Now its time to build!

Shovels are about to hit the ground on the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH)!

The Government of Ontario approved the start of construction to begin on the new Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) site following the closing of the project contract between EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) and HHS on April 29, 2022.

Related: read the full news release

The next day, local elected, hospital and community leaders gathered to celebrate.

Here are a few pics from the day.

A message to the WLMH community

Last year, we started this message off by noting how remarkable a year 2020 was.

It’s safe to say that 2021 has followed a similar path.

Over the past 12 months, our teams across Hamilton Health Sciences, including those at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH), have continued to demonstrate resilience, dedication, and courage serving patients with unwavering compassion in the most challenging of times. Staff and physicians continue to rise to each occasion and meet every difficult endeavour head on.

At WLMH, we saw many staff bring their highly specialized skills to other hospital sites, helping out in the hardest hit patient care areas, and others volunteering their skills at vaccination sites. Some programs at the site saw twists and turns as the hospital followed the government’s direction in response to the unrelenting virus, changing the way our providers deliver and patients receive care.

All of that turbulence did not stop progress on major WLMH initiatives.

For the first time in the site’s almost 75-year history, patients can now get timely and critical computed tomography (CT) scans in West Niagara. This momentous achievement was the result of many years of work by many hands – in the hospital, the Foundation, the community and at Queen’s Park. The site is now also home to two new x-ray machines and a new mammography suite, allowing more opportunity for preventative screening close to home.

As we head into 2022, we are just months – yes, months – away from construction being able to start on the new hospital. Getting here has taken immense effort, energy and emotional investment. It has been a long road travelled, but when shovels finally break ground on this long-overdue project, we think we will all agree that it was time well spent.

On behalf of Hamilton Health Sciences, we would like to wish our staff, physicians, volunteers, families, donors, community and supporters a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season, and what promises to be a very exciting New Year.

Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences

Leslie Gillies, VP, Community Medicine & Population Health, & Exec Site Lead, WLMH – Hamilton Health Sciences

This message was originally drafted for the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation annual Trees of Healthy Wishes campaign.

Teams submit technical RFPs for new WLMH

Financial submissions due January 2022

The West Lincoln Memorial Hospital (WLMH) Redevelopment project moved a little closer to becoming a reality as the technical Request for Proposals (RFP) period closed.

Technical submissions include individual plans for the design, layout and execution of the future facility. Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) will now begin a rigorous evaluation of the technical submissions.

The financial component of the RFP is expected to close in January 2022, after which time HHS and IO will be able to select a preferred proponent and negotiate a contract with that team.

“As we turn the corner into the New Year, we will very soon be able to determine and share who will build the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and what it will look like,” said Kelly Campbell, Vice-President, Corporate Services & Capital Development at HHS. “We thank each of the teams for the time, effort and energy they have invested into developing their technical proposals for this project. Very soon, we will have the exciting yet challenging task of selecting one winner from the high-quality and unique submissions.”

It is anticipated the successful team will be announced in spring 2022, and construction will begin shortly thereafter.


The RFP was posted at the end of June 2021. The three shortlisted teams – which were determined through an open Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process earlier this year – were invited to respond to the RFP for the new hospital. The RFP package included more than 5,500 technical requirements set by HHS, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and IO, which each team must satisfy in its submission.

“This is an exciting next step towards the build of the new West Niagara hospital the community has been working towards for many years,” said Sam Oosterhoff, Niagara West MPP. “This legacy community healthcare infrastructure will provide care and treatment to many patients in our community for years to come, and I wish to thank all those who have worked so hard to get the new build to this point. The Government of Ontario is committed to working with Hamilton Health Sciences and the whole community in getting the new hospital built as soon as possible.”

“Exciting part of the development process”

Work continues on rebuild project

The Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued at the very end of June, meaning the three teams vying for the project have all of the requirements needed to complete their bids.

For the redevelopment team which has been working furiously throughout the planning phases to get this project over the finish line, it’s a chance to take stock of all their efforts.

“This is an exciting part of the development process,” said Bart DeVries, director of redevelopment at Hamilton Health Sciences. “Our team has spent the better part of two years consulting and planning for the new hospital. Now we’re at the stage where we get to see that hard work materialize in the plans being developed by the design-build teams competing to win the project.”

Working behind-the-scenes

While this is a relatively quiet period in terms of public milestones and updates, lots of work is happening behind the scenes.

“Together with Infrastructure Ontario, we meet with each bid team on almost a weekly basis. Some of these meetings are a few hours in duration to cover their progress on schedules, IT and equipment planning, etc. In August, September, and October there are all-day meetings with each team where they share their current design iterations and walk us through their plans at each stage,” said DeVries, noting that each meeting is attended by an impartial “fairness monitor” to ensure that any information provided by the hospital to one bidder is shared equally with the others.

These meetings are an important part of the development process. They allow each design-build team to receive feedback on its designs in real time and have dialogue with the hospital. The meetings also provide the opportunity to raise red flags if there are potential issues or concerns on either side of the table.

“The RFP includes over 5,500 specific and unique requirements associated with the project. Documentation is provided to the bid teams after each design presentation session outlining which requirements have been satisfactorily met, and those that have not. As you can imagine, many questions come up throughout the process. Between regular meetings with the bidders, and request for information (RFI) requests, all parties have the ability to interact with our requirements and ultimately identify solutions, even though their design is unique from others. Where warranted, we revise some of our requirements to respond to innovations and other changes that will benefit the project,” said DeVries.

“With all projects, especially those which move as fast as the WLMH rebuild is moving, it’s always better to address matters up front so that teams can progress their designs quickly and allow us to minimize what needs to be resolved in the end,” he added.

Building relationships

The regular dialogue also lets the hospital’s team get to know each of the potential design-build teams. The new hospital will take between two and three years to build. It’s important to start building relationships and understanding each team’s dynamics.

“The relationship between the design-build team and the hospital and its planning, design and conformance (PDC) team is critical for the success of any project. Building rapport starts on day one and it’s nice for both sides to get to know each other early on,” noted DeVries.

Meetings with design-build teams will continue until late October 2021. Technical (“design”) submissions for the RFP are due at the end of November 2021. RFP financial (“cost”) submissions are due early January 2022. Evaluation of each will take place and the successful proponent will be announced sometime in March 2022. Shovels are expected to hit the ground by June 2022.

HHS, IO Issue RFP for WLMH Redevelopment

Today, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Hamilton Health Sciences have invited three teams to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) to design, build and finance the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital redevelopment project.

The three teams were prequalified based on criteria identified in a request for qualifications process that began in November 2020. Selection criteria included design and construction capability, experience, qualified personnel and financial capacity to undertake a project of this size and scope.

“With the posting of the RFP, the three teams who were previously shortlisted now have everything they need to develop their bids,” said Kelly Campbell, HHS vice-president of corporate services and capital development. “We are excited by the caliber of the teams and are confident each submission will bring a unique vision for the rebuilt hospital. Together with our partners at Infrastructure Ontario, we look forward to working with each team over the coming months, and ultimately choosing the group who will deliver the hospital for the community.”

The prequalified teams and their prime team members are:

AMICO SACYR ALLIANCE
• Applicant Lead: Amico Design Build Inc. (50%), Sacyr Construction S.A (50%)
• Design Team: IBI Group Architects Canada
• Construction Team: Amico Design Build Inc. (50%), Sacyr Construction S.A (50%)
• Financial Advisor: Operis Business Engineering Limited


ELLISDON INFRASTRUCTURE HEALTHCARE
• Applicant Leads: EllisDon Corporation
• Design Team: Parkin Architects Limited
• Construction Team: EllisDon Corporation
• Financial Advisor: EllisDon Capital Inc.


POMERLEAU HEALTHCARE PARTNERS
• Applicant Lead: Pomerleau Inc.
• Design Team: Cumulus Architects Inc, WalterFedy
• Construction Team: Pomerleau Inc.
• Financial Advisor: Pomerleau Inc.

“The release of the RFP for WLMH is a key milestone towards the new build,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP, Niagara West. “This is great news for West Niagara, and the speed with which we have arrived at this point from the initial commitment to a new build being made in October 2018, testifies to the huge desire to see this new build in the community. I have appreciated working with HHS, Minister Elliott, and the community on this key community infrastructure project, and it is exciting to see us get to this place. West Niagara has been waiting for a long time to see our new hospital, and today’s release of the RFP is very good news.”


Teams will now begin preparing proposals that detail how they will deliver the project. Once technical submissions are received by the end of November 2021, Infrastructure Ontario and Hamilton Health Sciences will evaluate the proposals, select a preferred team and then negotiate a final contract. A successful bidder is expected to be announced in spring 2022.

Ten things to know about the Stage 2 submission

The last seven months were a whirlwind for those involved in WLMH rebuild planning. But, we got the Stage 2 plan done and sent off to the Ministry for review and approval…ahead of schedule!

It’s not a final document until the Ministry approves it, so we can’t say too much at this point. Though we’re too excited not to share some information about the plan. Here are 10 things to know about the WLMH Stage 2 submission:

  • The Stage 2 plan is submitted as part of the Government of Ontario’s five-stage process for building a hospital, with Infrastructure Ontario estimating construction on the new WLMH to begin in 2022.
  • The Stage 2 plan is based on planning details set by the Ministry about the services to be included in the new hospital. The Ministry of Health will make the final decision to approve or request changes to the plan.
  • The submission is not publicly accessible until the Ministry’s final approval is provided. This is anticipated early in 2021.
  • The submission includes:
    • a detailed list of the spaces within the new building;
    • a simplified “block planning” of how those spaces may be configured within the new hospital;
    • a site plan showing elements like parking, site access, landscape, etc.;
    • a list of all furniture and equipment needed for the facility;
    • and, a preliminary cost estimate.
  • Based on Ministry specs to assure accessibility, infection control and service delivery, the proposed hospital will be almost double the size of the current hospital – from 65,000 sq. ft. to roughly 120,000 sq. ft.
  • Approximately 150 staff members from across WLMH and HHS contributed their experience and expertise to this planning. This was on top of their daily duties of providing or supporting the delivery of excellent patient care. We’re incredibly thankful for their efforts to get this done. Particularly because…
  • Stage 2 planning kicked off the week before COVID-19 started showing up in our community. Almost every meeting was done virtually, but the stakeholder engagement was equally as robust as in-person sessions. “We got great questions, ideas and comments in all of our user group meetings. The engagement got even better as we progressed through the process. This was new for all of us, but it was a robust experience and that’s definitely reflected in the final plan,” said Bart DeVries, director of redevelopment.
  • The plan proposes to build the new hospital behind the existing building. Once the new hospital is open, the old hospital will be demolished. This will create a substantial set back from the street to the front door allowing for landscaping and additional parking. The details of what this looks like will be developed in Stage 3.
  • The plan includes four operating suites which is twice the number at the current WLMH. This is consistent with the Ministry’s direction, meaning more people can receive the surgical care they need at WLMH.
  • The plan includes space for a multi-faith room, where patients and families will be able to go for a quiet moment of reflection when they need it. The current site does not have a similar space.

    Want more content on the WLMH rebuild? Here’s the most recent video in our series with WLMH leaders involved in the rebuild, talking about what we’re planning and what we can expect moving forward.

What’s Up @ WLMH: September 2020

Much ado about (WLMH rebuild project) costing

Last week, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) released its fall Market Update report. The report reiterates the government’s commitment to rebuild WLMH, which we completely expected, but it’s always great news regardless. The report, however, noted for the first time that WLMH project is now included in the “$200 – $499 million” budget range, which is an increase…

Read the full story.

Launching expert video series: Ask Bart Anything

Building a hospital is not an everyday experience for many people, including those of us who work in the hospital! It comes with a whole bunch of lingo, jargon, roles, phrases, acronyms and processes. Luckily, we have an expert on our team who can clarify this stuff so we’re all on the same page about what’s happening in the rebuild.

See the first Ask Bart Anything video

Looking ahead to rebuilding WLMH

You may have seen this video floating around on your social media feeds recently. You know, the one comparing the future WLMH to be like “driving a Tesla!” Now that we’re getting close to submitting our Stage 2 plan to the ministry, we’ve asked some WLMH leaders to share their thoughts about what this hospital means to our community and maybe a sneak peek or two about what we’re planning.

Stay tuned for more to come! 

Much ado about (WLMH rebuild project) costing

Last week, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) released its fall Market Update report. The report reiterates the government’s commitment to rebuild WLMH, which we completely expected, but it’s always great news regardless. (The WLMH rebuild project has been included in IO’s updates for almost two years.)

The report, however, noted for the first time that WLMH project is now included in the “$200 – $499 million” budget range, which is an increase from the “less than $200 million” budget range we’ve been working toward. This change on paper has encouraged some excitement in the community and beyond.

We asked our WLMH redevelopment lead for his take on this development.

“I get the excitement about this project, we’re really excited too,” said Bart DeVries, HHS director of redevelopment projects. “Based on my experience with large scale infrastructure projects, this is to be expected. It’s important to note that this development doesn’t mean there have been any significant changes to our planning. The difference between the previous budget range [<$200M] and the new budget range [$200M-$499M] could technically be $1. At the end of the day, the market will dictate what the true value of the project will be and that’s still a little way down the road.”

Budgeting for large, public-private partnership (P3) projects is a complex process with many moving parts. Ultimately the goal is to get the best value-for-money spent.

“The budget refinement process will continue as we proceed through Stage 3 toward construction. We’re still working under the original budget assumptions, which is the prudent approach. We’ve hired our costing team who are experts in budgeting for projects of this size and scope. They will tell us the anticipated project cost based on our requirements, which will be kept confidential and used to inform our plans. The private-sector teams bidding on the design-build contract for the hospital will include their project cost in their bids, which will also based on our requirements. Once a winning bid is selected by IO and HHS together, we will release the fixed-price contract value,” DeVries explained.

Many elements can influence a change in project budget, such as cost and availability of construction materials, labour and skilled trades. Time tends to drive the cost of the required elements up higher so planning needs to account for that possibility. It’s also wise to include contingency for unexpected costs, especially given the impacts the ongoing global pandemic is having and will likely continue to have on supply chains.

“These are the types of things we have been planning for since we started Stage 2 and why we always build contingency in to our projected budget,” he noted.

In terms of WLMH project timelines, we’re aiming to submit our Stage 2 plan to the ministry by Hallowe’en. The Request for Qualifications, which is the initial call for teams eligible to deliver the project, will be posted later this fall. Teams prequalified through this process will be named in early 2021, and invited to respond to a Request for Proposals later in the year.

What’s Up @ WLMH: COVID-19

We are taking precautions at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to ensure the safety of our staff, physicians, patients, families and community. More information related to COVID-19 is available here:

Hamilton Health Sciences hospital information

Niagara Region Public Health
Hospital access

Visitor guidelines have changed and we have moved to a no-visitor policy with very few exceptions. Based on these guidelines, infrastructure work at WLMH, with the exception of some limited outside work, has been placed on hold. 

Patient care

 The Ministry of Health has mandated all health care facilities to postpone all non-urgent elective activity, including surgeries and non-urgent clinic visits.

Some patients receiving non-urgent scheduled care may access care by phone or virtually

Elective surgeries are being postponed and perioperative services at West Lincoln are temporarily closed. This will support additional patient care capacity and availability of health care professionals in the weeks ahead.  West Lincoln patients requiring urgent surgical procedures will receive care at the appropriate alternative hospital.  Patients will be notified by their surgeon if their surgery is deferred. 

Planning for a new WLMH

The Capital Planning team continues to move forward with planning for the new WLMH. Kick-off meetings took place earlier this month. Work led by non-clinical team members continues to move ahead. We remain committed to moving forward, recognizing COVID-19 presents an evolving situation and patient care requirements remain our top priority. 

Follow us on social media

We’re sharing timely updates and shareable content on our social media channels, like this “five small acts” campaign, which is linked at the handles below.
Twitter: @HamHealthSci
Instagram: HamiltonHealthSciences
Facebook: @HamHealthSci