New Health Services Centre Opens!
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New Health Services Centre


 New Health Services Centre Opens!


  by Scott A. Sumner 

The skyline of Thunder Bay has changed noticeably in the Oliver Road\ area with the recent opening of the Health Services Centre - 1040  Oliver. The structure is about 110,000 square feet in size with about 102,000 square feet rentable. It is 7 floors  plus a basement. The building is tall but the foot print is small.The building is very  visible from many locations like the Expressway. 

   “ The project was developed in a partnership respectful of the hospital setting but creating its own identity. It is fairly big box  in term of footprint and mass. You have a larger stone base grounding  the building, with more stone or brick  getting the scale. Each floor is 15,000 square feet.” said  John Stephenson, Partner at Form  Architecture Engineering. “ This is a private sector driven project-   a partnership of Tom Jones and the hospital.  As an architect it is  balancing the needs of the private sector  and the desires of the  hospital and community for an attractive building. You could put a  simple box with little design on the exterior but the  attractiveness  and features of the building help draw potential tenants. The building  is now 60% rented.” 

   “ There are some components of the building design which are a  premium.  The curtain wall or glass is a premium and can be less  energy efficient  than typical wall with insulation.  The most glass  is in the public areas and stairwells where there are people moving  but not spending great time there.  By putting glass on the stair  walls it is encouraging staff and visitors to use the stairs  in terms of health.” said Michelle Gibson, Partner at Form Architecture  Engineering which has  three divisions, Architecture, Structures and  Interiors and 27 people on staff.  

  The Health Services Centre at 1040 Oliver Road  construction was started in late 2012 so getting it open for use  in under 2 years is > excellent.  The base building  is largely complete and as the tenants  come along more work goes on for example with the cyclotron  installation.   


  Jennifer Foulds is an Associate with Form Architecture Engineering.  Jennifer has been involved in interior design colour choices and  interior layouts of the new building.  

 “  We worked on the base building materials and tenants including the cardiac rehabilitation unit and are near completion of a new doctors office. In the base building we tried to bring the exterior look  inside with linear lines  and a clean warm look.  Products were  selected that are very healthy with natural materials not including  Poly Vinyl Cloride  which is causing respiratory issues.”  

  “  The Cardiac Care office is nearly finished moving from their County Fair Mall location to  a lower level in the building to  encourage their clients to walk up.  In this space we have an office grouping, a large track  and showers. We paid careful attention to the  client for example with the flooring being soft. We have warm colours  and windows in this location.”   

  The Health Services Centre at 1040 Oliver Road  will house the new cyclotron. The cyclotron is  technically the most complex component of  the building.   Form Architecture Engineering were involved in the  TBRHSC building here. Typically hospitals are the most complicated  buildings to work on so it was good experience for this new building. 

   “ We hope to work on another cyclotron. Working on the hospital we  learned a lot in terms of say concrete installation in the radiation area. Every project is challenging and we don’t take any for granted.  This project has presented lots of interesting challenges.” said John  Stephenson. “  This project was a design build on the base building  and then sliding tenants in which meant a lot of work. Tom Jones has been great on juggling a lot of balls dealing with the hospital and  specialty tenants.” 

  “ As the coordinating force the role of the architect  is to bring all the pieces together. We can look back and feel good about what we  created as a team. It is a good example of working together in a  design build approach. In this integrated form of project the  construction started before you are even finished the design which can  compress the timeframe.  Life labs is in there operating and the  building is still under construction. You have to have special access to exists and stair wells.” said John Stephenson.  

 Jamie Pilot is an Associate Partner with Form Architecture Engineering and a structural engineer  who went to Lakehead University.  “ There are some very complex aspects to the building.  For example  the stairwell is visible from the exterior. There is a lot of glass on them but to  make it work was interesting.The stairwells created some  special concrete work. The main  body of the building is a combination  of steel post and beam  with  poured concrete slabs with a fairly  uniform layout.”  

 The engineering team includes mechanical by KGS and and electrical  done  by AG Engineering  as well as the MMM Group. 

  “ All the pieces have to work together and work in harmony. The building envelop has to meet or exceed codes with insulation and the  orientation of the building South to North  is better for efficiency.”  

  “ We had to wait and see if the cyclotron would be in the basement, whether there would be a 7th floor and then there was the bedrock  challenge. We had to blast the bedrock  which was weaker to fracture  but good to build on.” said Michelle Gibson.  

 The cyclotron foundation is being poured now and is the bunker but the remaining floor space is radio pharmacy and cyclotron.




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