By Melanie Eksal
Special to OsoyoosToday
Local philanthropist David Kampe received a standing ovation Friday at the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the new Penticton Regional Hospital tower bearing his name.
A number of dignitaries were present at the celebration, including Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Penticton Dan Ashton and Penticton Indian Band chief Chad Eneas.
“We are honoured to have you here today, and we are honoured by your contribution to the community,” Mr. Dix told Mr. Kampe.
The new six-storey tower brings an additional 86 beds to the hospital, five operating rooms and boasts the only state-of-the-art Siemens MRI machine in Canada, which scans 46% faster than other models.
It will also host a nuclear medicine program, rooftop helipad and provide space for the UBC faculty of medicine.
“This building also, I think we can say, provides a welcoming environment for patients and staff,” said Mr. Dix, complimenting the natural light and the artwork and features which celebrate the uniqueness of the region.
Past-executive director of hospital foundations Janice Perrino said the tower, which was in the making for many years, was a shared project.
“It was an incredible journey of people coming together to say, ‘This is what Penticton and the South Okanagan-Similkameen deserves,’” she said.
“I’m so proud, I could just burst. This small community — and even in this small region — cities this size and this region don’t have the health care that (is) here.”
For MLA Ashton, the project was nearly 20 years in the making.
“It started way earlier than 2009,” he said. “The discussions taking place — this has been an ongoing opportunity for the entire regional district.
“What transpired is that everybody got to work, and went ahead and did it,” said Mr. Ashton. “The government didn’t have to put a penny into this hospital for the first year of construction. That enabled us to start one whole year early.”
In total, the tower, parkade and renovations to the existing hospital cost $312.5 million.
The David E. Kampe tower officially opens April 29.
Melanie Eksal is a reporter with The Penticton Herald. OsoyoosToday and The Herald share an informal editorial use agreement.