The Health Service Centre Is An Impressive Addition To Thunder Bay
by Scott A. Sumner
The Health Services Centre is the newest property for Tom Jones & Sons. This just completed building offers over 100,000 square feet of space for offices and is one of the largest privately owned office buildings in the city.
“ The hospital had an RFP for this project about two years ago and we were the successful proponent. We started construction about 1 1/2 years ago and have our first two tenants moved in recently - Life Labs and the Cardiac Rehab Centre. We are working on several more tenants right now,” said Tom Jones, Manager of Tom Jones & Sons Ltd, the property management division. Tom Jones Corporation is the construction division. “ Personally I have been working in the property area for over 30 years and the family has been at it for over 50 years. We pride ourselves on doing jobs well, ahead of time and under budget.”
Jones hopes to have the building over half occupancy by spring and then get it filled up in the next year or two.
“ I think it is a fabulous building with 7 stories including the penthouse. All the glass and modern architecture gives outstanding views. You can see the entire region from here including Mt McKay and the Sleeping Giant. We are very proud of it. It is all state of the art with the most up to date heat systems and a credit to Thunder Bay.,” said Jones “ We can have general office non medical for a certain percentage of the building but we expect most of the tenants to be medical related.”
Since the hospital opened Tom Jones & Sons completed their first building, a 72,000 square foot building that is 100 % occupied right adjacent to the main campus.
If you are interested in an office space here Tom Jones will have you meet with their architectural team and you can be in your new office in a few months time!
A very unique use of the new Health Services Centre building will be to house one of Canada’s few cyclotrons. This elaborate multi million-dollar machine is used to manufacture isotopes that are in turn used to fight cancers. The cyclotron required some specialized construction on this project.
“ The concrete for the bunker for the cyclotron was finished about three weeks ago. The purpose it to provide shielding so we can safely make medical isotopes in there and produce the drugs we need for diagnosing cancer. Also about half the basement in the building will house additional cyclotron operations. They have been working on the bunker for about 6 months now getting everything in place. It was quite the logistic puzzle and the crew did a fantastic job to make sure everything was in place prior to the concrete pours. The bunker has around 2.5 meter thick walls of concrete around it.” said Mike Campbell Director, Research Operations & Director, Cyclotron Operations for the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.
“ It is a really complex project for Thunder Bay and anywhere. It has been a lot of fun for the Tom Jones crew and us. They have had fun with it and we have enjoyed working on it. The radiation shielding makes it complex. The bunker is where the cyclotron lives. We take that radioactive material and send it into the labs in the building where you make a pharmaceutical product that will be pumped
into the patient.”
The isotopes are primarily used for diagnosing cancer.
There will be around 12 to 16 staff making the isotopes and another 12 to 16 doing research after start up. The cyclotron cost it is
around $4 million with many other millions of cost in the other set up required to operate.
“ We chose a cyclotron unit that would make isotopes that have slighter longer life so we can ship them out to parts of Canada and then the US down the road. Our business plan is to be a provider of isotopes. We will be able to produce roughly 1/10 of Canada’s
isotope needs.” said Campbell.
There are three other cyclotrons like this going in for a total of 5 in Canada. Advance Cyclotron of Vancouver made the unit.
“ The cyclotron timing is opportune as Chauk River is scheduled to shut down and we need isotopes. We can now make the isotopes in Thunder Bay. If there is a snowstorm we currently get our isotopes from Hamilton and sometimes we can’t get them up here. We will now have them on site,” said Peter Myllymaa, Executive VP, Corporate Services & Operations- TBRHSC. “ The other advantage is because of the life of the isotopes less doses may be required because they are produced here. You have guaranteed supply and need less product
injected because it is produced right there.”
Myllymaa pointed out it is a big investment but we have had some great partners including the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario’s NOHFC program, the Federal Fednor program, the TBRHSC Foundation and others. They see the value in this type of investment as Thunder Bay moves more towards knowledge based economy.
“ This building gives us the opportunity for further growth. It is an exciting project for the hospital and others in the community.”