Health care workers in the Calgary area are getting some much-needed rest thanks to efforts by EllisDon and partners.
Chris Royer, construction manager for EllisDon Calgary, explained the initiative began when the company was challenged by a client to embark on some new charity work.
“We need to give back to the communities that have been so good to us,” said Royer. “We always have been involved in giving back but we felt we had to step up our game and approached some site directors at the Foothills Hospital. We wanted to give something back to frontline workers.”
The idea of providing meals was floated, but hospital officials said workers desperately needed space to relax.
“They wanted help giving staff a respite area to seek refuge from the day-to-day onslaught of dealing with the pandemic,” said Royer.
EllisDon engaged with a designer, chose an area near the campus, mocked up some concept drawings and worked with hospital officials to create something that fit their workers’ needs. After a design was locked in, EllisDon asked around to see if any local companies were interested in donating labour or materials.
“The uptake was phenomenal,” said Royer. “I knew we were a community-oriented city, but nobody said ‘no.’”
EllisDon was able to partner with 24 companies to get materials delivered, parts fabricated and more. The Foothills project took roughly six months of planning and five weeks of construction to complete. It includes benches, tables, privacy screens and planters.
The design, construction expertise and materials for the outdoor respite area were assembled with the help of multiple subtrade partners. Now officially complete, the area was given back to the hospital earlier this month in a small ribbon cutting ceremony.
Now that word has spread about the respite space, EllisDon has partnered with the Calgary Health Foundation and Oxford Properties to fundraise for more rejuvenating outdoor courtyard spaces at hospitals across the city including Rockyview General Hospital, the Peter Lougheed Centre and the South Health Campus.
Royer said they are going to work closely so the new spaces are tailored to each hospital’s specific needs.
“It really feels good to be able to give back to the people who have taken such good care of our population,” he said. “They are putting their health on the line. It meant a whole lot to all of us to be able to just champion it and be a part of it in general.”
At the ribbon-cutting health care workers were already milling about the space and Royer said feedback has been glowing.
“As soon as the fences were down, people were using it,” he said.
EllisDon aims to have the projects completed by the end of the calendar year, weather permitting.
The full list of participants in the Foothills project included:
Alsa Road Construction Ltd.
BURNCO Rock Products
Calgary Fasteners & Tools
Calibre Coatings Ltd
Concrete Reflections Inc
Cygnus Design Group Inc
Driver Direct Ltd
EllisDon Construction Services Inc
Flynn Canada Ltd
Frank’s Abrasive Blasting, Coating & Fireproofing
GFL Environmental Inc
NCA / Northland
ORTON FAMILY TRUST
Oxford Builders Supplies
O2 Planning & Design
Phoenix Concrete Cutting & Coring Inc
Stephenson’s Rental Services
Titan Contracting & Demolition Ltd
Varspol Trucking Ltd
Year Round Landscaping