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The planned expansion and renovation of the emergency wing at the Nicola Valley Hospital is one step closer to breaking ground, as the design consultant for the project has now been selected.

Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. was awarded the contract from nine submissions, stated a press release from the Interior Health Authority on Dec. 23.

Kasian, along with a team of other consultant companies, will be working alongside IHA during the upcoming spring, when a general contractor is expected to be selected for the project.

The expansion and renovation of the hospital’s ER is expected to cost approximately $5.6 million with the Thompson Regional Hospital District (TRHD) supplying $2.24 million, and the Nicola Valley Health Care Endowment Foundation committing to raise about $700,000 for equipment and furnishing.

The IHA’s portion of the project costs will be about $3 million.

The project will add about 400 square metres of new space to the ER and include features such as a covered ambulance bay with a dedicated ambulance entrance, confidential triage and registration spaces, a decontamination room, expanded trauma and treatment areas, a new nurse station and equipment storage.

During the project’s announcement at the Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre last November, Health Minister Terry Lake said he expects to break ground on the project by November 2017.

Completion of the expansion should be finished within 20 to 24 months from now — which would mean the new and improved ER could be open in 2018.