One of the biggest health care construction projects in the local area in years is getting closer to completion.

Alberta Health Services says the expansion of the Vulcan Hospital was done almost completely through the generosity of the community.

The board chair of the Vulcan County Health and Wellness Foundation, Scott Mitchell agrees.

"Every cent of this expansion's budget came out of the donors to the Health Care Foundation," he says. "It's probably one of, in rural Alberta, one of the highest per capita donor spend on a public facility that there is."

He says the Town of Vulcan and Vulcan County helped out along with the approximately 6,500 people in the county.

"I think in the mid-80's the provincial government made an investment in health in a number of communities our size in Alberta, and I think we're 30 years later we want to make sure that 30 years from now we have a facility that concentrates on patient first strategies, so patients and families, centred around the health equation and just what's next out there in making sure we have safety and security in health care in rural Alberta," Mitchell says.

He says there are about 69 heath care foundations around the province who put between $200 and $300-million back into Alberta Health Services every year, whether it's for capital projects or programs and foundations represent the will of the people in the areas they serve.

The new 1,305 square metre wing will have space for up to eight doctors, rehabilitation space, adult day programs and a wellness centre.

"We have a doctor's clinic that's been embedded in the hospital for the last 20 some years and what it (the expansion) does is it's a strategic capital project that looks forward to the next 30 years, so we did a needs assessment to better find out what the area needed, because we've got all of our sister communities around us in Vulcan County," he says. "It's an expansion of the existing doctor's clinic and it brings rehabilitation, physiotherapy up from the basement, brings it up and expands it, compliments the Adult Day Support program that's there and it adds some wellness spaces, so we can start talking about lifestyles and bring community and the rest of the community together,"

He says they're also working on a virtual online wellness presence because of the distances people have to travel in rural areas for help.

There are still a few technical issues to be ironed out before a date is set for a grand opening.


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