Susan Dobbie, one of the guests at Tuesday’s hospital construction kickoff event, signed a banner that will be hung on the fencing outside the new construction zone. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance Times)

PHOTOS – Work begins: Langley Memorial Hospital becomes a construction zone

Detailed plans and more large donations unveiled during kickoff ceremony at LMH Tuesday

Trekking in from the far east parking lot, some 50 special guests were given a first-hand glimpse at the construction work already underway for Langley’s new ER.

Donors, staff, volunteers, and other proponents, who are helping realize the expansion of Langley Memorial Hospital, attended a special unveiling ceremony Tuesday morning, and like Vivian Smith they had to walk past a torn up parking lot and driveway to get to the event in the hospital’s basement cafeteria.

“Every day, I take the trek you made this morning, through our parking lot, up to the main entrance of the hospital,” said Smith, the executive director of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation (LMHF).

“I love this walk, as it provides a daily glimpse into the exciting progress we’ve made since [health] minster Adrian Dix’s visit for the ground-breaking ceremony on Jan. 25, and I see all of your hard work and dedication take shape.”

The province, Fraser Health, and LMHF have all committed to raising and contributing about $45 million towards the expansion of the existing ER, plus the construction of a new building to house an MRI suite.

READ MORE: Funding boosted for Langley ER expansion

But this week, after years of planning, the work is underway.

On the ER front, the construction crew from EllisDon is currently doing the groundwork for a new hospital access road and drop off zone to ease what Smith called “the challenges” construction will cause on visitors and patients, and allow them to redirect ambulance traffic and start work on the emergency department footprint.

Part of the existing parking lot and driveways in front of the main entrance are being torn up.

“Today, we see the beginning of all that hard work start to take shape,” Smith said.

SEE EVENT PHOTO GALLERY

Once this prep is complete in late April, crews will get to work on the actual building of the new ER.

“By May, we will see excavation work, mechanical, and electrical underground work, and the building itself – framing and roofing will be erected,” Smith said, inviting guests to get a closer look at the actual floor plans and rendering for the building that were unveiled.

This work will continue from late spring all the way into late summer 2020, she said, and will include the ER as well as a new ambulance parking bay and completion of the main parking lot paving and landscaping.

The expanded ER will increase the number of treatment spaces to 49 from 31, while also creating a dedicated pediatric waiting area for children.

The grand opening, with full occupancy, is expected by mid-January 2021.

As for the new MRI – a first for Langley – the contract has been let to KDS Construction and work will begin in May, with completion expected next spring, Smith said. Once operational, it’s expected to provide about 7,500 exams in its first year.

“These two sites may not look like much today, but what we are seeing is the groundwork for – better care, more privacy for patients and caregivers, more capacity, and the quality facilities Langley has long deserved,” Smith said.

During Tuesday’s kickoff, the foundation also announced a few more key donors who are helping raise the needed $15-million for the Emergency Response Campaign.

Back in February, foundation board members Balraj Mann and Manjit Gill held the inaugural Giving Hearts Gala that raised more than $200,000 thanks to matching donations from Gill and her husband, Darcy.

On Tuesday, the Gills took their philanthropy to a new level, raising their commitment to $1 million.

At the same time, special acknowledgment was given for a half-million-dollar contribution from another Langley family, the Carlsons.

Laurie and Gerry Carlson along with sons Ted and Brent, and daughters Cathy and Leanne, committed to donating $500,000 to the campaign.

This was added to the previous $5 million from the Martini family, $2 million from the Skidmore family, $1.5 million from the hospital auxiliary, $500,000 from Ann Blaauw, $250,000 from Donald’s Fine Foods, $100,000 from Balraj and Jasbir Mann, $100,000 from the Township of Langley firefighters, and a $1-million matching donation from the Eric Woodward Foundation that brought out a number of other contributions including $250,000 from Hugh and Susan Dobbie, and $100,000 from Scott Kemp and Langley ToyotaTown.

READ: Langley Memorial Hospital: Million dollar matching donor revealed

This campaign has been about Langley families giving back – supporting the hospital and investing in health care for the community, said campaign committee chair Phil Jackman.

“I am proud to be from Langley and from a community that is so giving and so supportive. Together, we are changing the future of health care for Langley, making it better for all,” Jackman said.

The foundation is more than 85 per cent of the way towards its $15-million fundraising goal.

ORIGINAL UNVEILING: $30-million expansion of Langley Memorial Hospital ER announce

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