The contract for repairs to a closed section of the Royal University Hospital (RUH) parkade has been awarded.

On October 28, the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority (SRHA) approved the award of the tender for the parkade repairs to Stuart Olson in the amount of $10,420,040.

These funds will be borrowed; something that had previously been approved by both the SRHA board and the Ministry of Health.

Portions within the 1984-built parkade structure were closed as a precautionary measure in May 2013 due to early warning signs of structural issues. The tender for the repairs was awarded this week by the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority.

Portions within the 1984-built parkade structure were closed as a precautionary measure in May 2013 due to early warning signs of structural issues. The tender for the repairs was awarded this week by the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority.

“We hope to have everything in place so we can begin repair work this winter,” says Marcel Nobert, interim vice-president for Corporate Services for Saskatoon Health Region.

Portions within the 1984-built parkade structure were closed for testing and analysis as a precautionary measure in May 2013, following initial inspections related to site preparation for the construction of the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan (CHS). At the time, early warning signs noted during the inspection indicated issues with the slab and tension cables. Experts were called in to analyze the situation, and they recommended the closure of some sections to ensure public safety.

Currently, over 300 stalls on Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the parkade are closed. Temporary reinforcements have been put in place on these levels to help reinforce the vertical structure of the facility. Due to these closures, along with changes made to parkade entrances because of CHS construction, traditional patient and staff parking areas have been shuffled, and some staff parking has been relocated off-site.

The Health Region gathered expert advice and analyzed options for the parkade, and decided to pursue a repair and maintenance plan, financed by a loan. The repair work will include fixing cables, reinforcing concrete and replacing the surface membrane.

“As healthcare dollars cannot and should not be used to cover parking expenses, including repairs and maintenance, parking fees charged by the Health Region will be funding the work on all parking structures,” Nobert noted.

“We will use parking revenue to pay back the loan we take out for this project,” Nobert explained. “The plan is to pay off the loan over an approximately 30-year period, but that may change based on the financing we secure. We will also be looking for the lowest interest rate possible.”

Patient and family parking rates will not increase to pay for this work. However, there will likely be small, incremental increases in staff and physician rates across the Region over time to finance all parkade repairs and to fund ongoing maintenance.

“Our parking structures in Saskatoon continue to be monitored and inspected on a regular basis to ensure the ongoing safety of the structures,” said Nobert. “But we also know these repairs are needed, and we need to get started and put some investment back into our parking structures today.”

 More work is being planned for other portions of the RUH parkade, as well as to the staff parkades at Saskatoon City Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital. RUH’s 1984 section of the parkade was prioritized because the work required was deemed the most necessary and affected the most stalls, including public parking.