By Melanie Eksal
Special to OsoyoosToday
Penticton Regional Hospital’s David E. Kampe tower was running like a well-oiled machine, Monday — it’s first official day of operation.
More than 70 patients from the main building already occupied the upper floors and an operation was scheduled in the new tower, said health services administrator Carl Meadows.
“It feels lived in on Day 1,” he said. “I was expecting a little more chaos for a new thing, (but) Day 1 and everybody knew what to do. It really has gone miraculously.”
The new tower, which is the first of the two-phase development planned for the hospital, adds 84 beds to the hospital and offers state-of-the-art technology with Canada’s first Siemens MRI machine, which is capable of scanning 46% faster than other models.
“It isn’t operational just yet,” said Brent Kruschel, Interior Health’s chief project officer. “The machine is working perfectly, but we’re having some challenges with the flooring. Some of the flooring needs to be replaced.”
Mr. Kruschel explained the hospital will be bringing in a portable machine until fixes are complete.
And while it’s business as usual for staff, the tower was busy on its first day with the Penticton and District Stamp Club unveiling a commemorative stamp honouring local philanthropist David Kampe.
“David Kampe has given us his permission to use his image on a stamp,” said club treasurer Harv Baessler.
The project was made possible with help from photographer Stuart Bish, artist Randy Manuel and Gary McDougall of the Penticton Museum and Archives.
“All of this was geared towards the opening of the building,” explained McDougall. “Not the ribbon cutting ceremony, which happened a while ago.”
The club, said Mr. Baessler, also raised more than $37,000 for the hospital to purchase a patient room, which has since been named after the club.
Melane Eksal is a reporter with The Penticton Herald. OsoyoosToday and The Herald share an informal editorial use agreement.