A 40-acre greenfield site, plans for a 1.2 million square-foot hospital with fully integrated smart technology, and a worldwide pandemic. Every project we undertake has a vision and its own unique challenges and solutions, but Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital stands out as a unique testament to the power of collaboration and resilience.  

The project, which broke ground in October 2016, is the first hospital to be built in Vaughan, Ontario and the first net new hospital in Ontario in more than 30 years. Mackenzie Health and Infrastructure Ontario selected Plenary Health and an expert team of partners to execute this high-tech, complex P3 project to support Mackenzie Health’s two-hospital future. From design development, to topping off and commissioning, PCL and partners hit important milestones and achieved substantial completion on this anticipated project in August 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Mackenzie Health prepared to open the doors to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, they adjusted their plans to temporarily transition the hospital into a systemwide resource supporting the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response. On February 7, 2021, the hospital opened exclusively to support the fight against COVID-19 by increasing the province’s available critical and acute care beds. With 514 patients transferred to the facility from hospitals across the GTA since February, Mackenzie Health cared for the highest proportion of COVID-19 patients in Ontario.

As Ontario’s health care system saw a decline in COVID-19 cases in hospitals and rolled out the provincial vaccination program, Mackenzie Health and the Government of Ontario made the decision that the time was right to open Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital to the community. On June 6, Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital opened as originally planned, as a full-service community hospital.

Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital was executed under a design-build-finance-maintain P3 delivery model to bring Mackenzie Health’s smart hospital vision to life. Embracing a connected health strategy, Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital leverages Information, Communication and Automation Technology (ICAT) and features cutting edge systems that provide streamlined communication between providers and their patients.

We collaborated with the hospital, Plan Group and Compugen to enable a high-performance network to host all hospital data and deliver fast data transmission. The network includes more than 23,000 data outlets and distributed antenna systems to enable wireless communication to emergency services, aspects which are pivotal to the health care industry.

This network infrastructure enables the hospital’s, first in Canada Epic electronic health record (EHR) system and incorporated innovation units to create a digital health care experience. The EHR system, first implemented at Mackenzie Health’s Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital in 2017, allows patients digital access to their personal health records and allows for seamless connectivity between Mackenzie Health’s sites. 

Running critical work activities in parallel with on-site construction was crucial to maintaining project schedule while reducing site congestion. Our team manufactured 290 modular washrooms pods varying in size from 90 to 100 square feet and weighing approximately 5,000 pounds each. We built 10 variations to ensure ease of installation and integration with the hospital layout.

Modular construction of the pods ensured the health and safety of our employees and enhanced schedule and quality. It also reduced pressures on schedule coordination, workforce loading and quality reviews, allowing for a better end-product, delivered in less time.

Infection prevention and control was top priority for the new hospital, including the design of designated pandemic zones within the emergency department, critical care and patient units. Each zone requires sufficient air circulation to ensure the safety of patients and providers. Pulling together an in-depth commissioning and testing program, we created functional isolation rooms while maintaining air pressure requirements.

Each isolation room and pandemic zone is built to be airtight, with negative air pressure which helps to prevent airborne diseases and contaminated air from escaping the room through specialized filtration systems. With area-specific air handling, each area incorporates building automation systems that ensure exhaust air is rerouted promptly and fresh air is changed hourly. High-efficiency particulate air is filtered before being released into the atmosphere to ensure airborne viruses are properly contained. 

Sending every worker home safely at the end of each day is always PCL’s highest priority. The pandemic only heightened this imperative.  

The project team was quick to implement enhanced safety measures on site and to follow all health and safety protocols. Sanitizing stations were deployed, social distancing was enforced and masks were required on site. Thinking a step further, a screening program was developed to conduct pre-screenings before workers entered the site. Workers were evaluated in the Citizen Care Pod, a portable IoT-enabled structure that provides a safe, secure environment for COVID-19 testing and screening. With a workforce that topped out at more than 900 workers on site daily during the peak of construction, PCL takes pride in having delivered this project without a COVID-19 outbreak on site.

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital team achieved an industry-leading safety record, surpassing three million worker hours without a lost-time injury, a true testament to our safety culture.

“Not only have we been able to close out this project while dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have closed it safely,” said General Superintendent Randy Steffan. “I cannot imagine anything feeling better than successfully completing and turning over a major hospital project during these trying times.”

While this year has presented unprecedented obstacles, in collaboration with our clients and partners and communities, we remain committed to building the communities in which we live, work and play.

“Opening our second hospital would not have been possible without hard-working individuals including our partners in the project consortium made up of our architects, construction crews, project consultants, vendors and government along with the incredible support of our community members,” said President and CEO of Mackenzie Health Altaf Stationwala. “Collaborative partnerships like the one we have with PCL meant the hospital was delivered with patients in mind allowing our team at Mackenzie Health to focus on providing the best possible patient care. While the initial opening of Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital looked different than originally planned as a result of the pandemic, we are proud to provide two full-service hospitals to support our community.”

Hundreds of passionate people, including PCL employees, persevered and overcame many challenges to help Mackenzie Health complete this vital hospital project, proving yet again that only together we can build success.

“​​​​​​​The passionate pursuit of a shared vision motivated everyone who worked on this project to overcome any challenge. Thank you to our project team, and all of the essential tradespeople who have dedicated themselves during this challenging year to grow the community’s health care facilities alongside the hardworking, frontline heroes,” said vice president and district manager of PCL’s Toronto office, Kelly Wallace.