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‘Urgently needed’ hospital 95 percent ready

Floors, lighting and landscaping in Exuma facility yet to be completed
Guardian Business Reporter

Published: Oct 09, 2013

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The $14 million mini-hospital in Exuma is more than 95 percent complete and is looking to obtain its occupancy permit in early December, the project’s lead contractor confirmed yesterday.

Securing temporary power supply, along with flooring and light installations are just some of the outstanding issues that have resulted in the opening of the state-of-the-art medical facility being delayed.

The island’s chief councilor, Godfrey Gray, has told Guardian Business in the past that Exuma is in desperate need of better facilities that reflect the level of development that is being experienced on that island, as the current healthcare facilities are extremely inadequate.

“The upgrades are urgently needed because we have been without proper facilities for a very long time. The medical facilities are extremely inadequate, especially when you consider the type of resorts that we have on the island like Sandals,” Gray said.

Vernon Wells, owner of Reef Construction admitted to Guardian Business that the project has been on a standstill for a month and half as he awaits various approvals. But with a project of this nature, Wells said it’s not unusual to have “hiccups” and his team has made provisions for them.

Once those approvals are in place, Wells said the floor installation will begin, a process he estimates will take approximately six weeks to complete.

“We’re almost there. We are trying to get the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) to give us temporary power. That power is needed to hook up the air conditioning units. And the flooring needs to be installed with the air conditioning. If you don’t do that, then the flooring would be compromised when the air conditioning is turned on,” according to Wells.

“So it’s one of those things where it has to be completed even before you get to substantial completion. With projects like this, all of your ducks have to be in a row in order for it to go smoothly.”

Apart from the lighting fixtures and the structural elements for the lighting, Wells said landscaping is the only other outstanding issue that would need to be addressed before the mini-hospital is operational.

“We are hoping to have all of the lights installed by the end of November. We will be shooting for a substantial completion or an occupancy permit around the beginning of December if all goes well. Everything has to happen without any further delay,” he said.

The 30,000-square-foot mini-hospital will be outfitted with 10 beds, an operating table, a dental facility, physiotherapy, a morgue and an emergency and trauma room.

In April 2012, the National Insurance Board (NIB) and Reef Construction Company Ltd. signed a contract of the community hospital.

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