The conceptual plans for a two story Integrated Facility were presented during a information session on Dec. 6, with the vision of a Wellness Centre added to the range of services available at the proposed facility.
Drawings presented during last Thursday's meeting boasted a Fieldhouse and Wellness Centre as the hub of the Integrated Facility, with a modernized Aquatic Centre plus Art Gallery and Library facilities included in the proposed design. The Integrated Facility would be joined to the north side of the Cypress Regional Hospital, plus it would be accessible to the currently constructed Ecole Centennial and All Saints Catholic Schools.
The Wellness Centre concept would give Swift Current a facility unique in Saskatchewan, and local officials have explored the amenities provided by the Seven Oaks Institute in Winnipeg as the closed model to what they are envisioning.
Brenda Schwan, Executive Director of Human Resources for the Cypress Health Region, is serving as the Capital Project Lead for the health region. She noted that a vision is building regarding the Wellness Centre concept.
"What excites me about this project is that it is so much more than just a healthcare facility or a recreation facility, but rather a facility that will optimize the well being of our community. It will allow our residents to benefit from a full multi-disciplinary team, under one roof, and the overall goal is to improve the health of the residents here in Swift Current," she said of the Wellness Centre opportunities," Schwan told an audience of approximately 40 individuals attending the open house.
"Imagine if we had a wellness centre dedicated to improving the health of our community and focussed on health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation services - with a goal of helping our community overcome medical challenges and make their lives less painful and more enjoyable."
There was a lengthy list of potential programs and services which could be delivered through a Wellness Centre. There could be services provided to individuals living with chronic diseases, medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation programs, through to targeting people at risk of osteoporosis by offering activities and programs to help increase their muscle strength, endurance, and mobility. A list of other potential offerings included pulmonary rehab programs, hypertension programs, smoking cessation, weight management, and nutrition services.
"By bringing all our health providers under one roof - community health services, public health services, and primary health care - in a state of the art facility, adjoined with our health professionals at the Regional Hospital, really presents opportunities to start expanding our programs and offering state of the art programs here in Swift Current," Schwan said.
The Health Region is also looking at opportunities in order to be able to expand Swift Current's status as a Learning Centre. Swift Current currently hosts a physician residency program for third and fourth year medical students and starting in the fall of 2013 have a nursing program offered through Great Plains College.
"So if we move to becoming a learning hospital and a Learning Centre we're going to need space for that, so we're also looking at opportunities within the Wellness Centre and what are some of the space that we could utilize in there as we expand and become more of a Learning Hospital."
Tim Marcus, Swift Current's Deputy Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer said the City is currently developing a business case on the operation of the facility, plus they are exploring options and partnerships to fund capital costs of these facilities.
"We've done some preliminary work but it's still too early to really define the capital costs because all of those facilities are just shown as blocks of space, without any real definition of what's going in them. And that's really where a lot of the costs would be," Marcus said.
"It takes a long time to plan a facility like this. As we've been moving along getting the public input, we've been working on a case on how we're going to be able to fund the operating of it and the different concepts we would employ in there, especially partnering with the health authority on the wellness aspect."
Because of the complexity of the proposal, they continue to go through the lengthy process of gathering information and building to project beyond the conceptual stage.
"I can't say that it's a definite go ahead. That's really up to council. The go forward for us is we need to provide the information on how we'd be able to operate that facility, and what the cost would be for operating it. As well as really defining the capital construction costs of the various facilities, and potentially how we'd be able to fund those. And those options need to be presented to council for them to really decide how we'd move forward from here," Marcus said. "There is the potential of phasing the facility in and which pieces would be built first and so on. So there's a lot of work the needs to be done and a lot of considerations by council before we would really be able to say what is going to be the next steps."
"All the information that is being gathered of course the next step going forward would be to further define some of those blocks of space inside the facility based on the input that we get."
Marcus noted the inclusion of the Public Library into the conceptual plan does not mean a final decision has been made regarding the location of the library.
"At this point in time we're just really pursuing the business case on the wellness part of it. Those facilities are still shown there as futures."
"As we continue to develop the business case on the whole facility, that would impact as to how the rest of those facilities would be further defined."
He did highlight that an expanded Art Gallery location would be beneficial.
"The issue with the Art Gallery is that currently, due to the new standards that came out quite some time ago, they're not allowed to have national exhibitions or international exhibitions because their space is too small. And of course this would allow them to be able to provide those to the citizens of Swift Current."
The City of Swift Current is currently seeking more replies to a Wellness Survey to gauge potential users of the facility and which amenities they would like to see on the Wellness Centre side of an Integrated Facility.
To take the survey and provide feedback visit the city's website www.swiftcurrent.ca and click on the link to learn more about the Integrated Facility Concept.