Architect?? Michael Lashley explaining the layout of the St. John Community Facility to officials including Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (behind green shirt), Minister of Family,??Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley (behind Michael Lashley) and Representative??for the area, Mara Thompson (behind??bright blue shirt – right), during a tour today. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

After a tour of the site of the St. John Polyclinic, now being referred to as a multi-purpose community facility, Health Minister, Donville Inniss, revealed that it would open to the public by January of next year and would be fully operational by the first quarter of 2013.

He toured the 27,000 square ft. building, today, along with Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, representative for the area, Mara Thompson; Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Care, Tennyson Springer, and other health officials.??Expressing his pleasure with the progress of work so far, he made the point that completion of the structure would ease the pressure placed on other polyclinics across the island.??

"I think we can stop referring to it exclusively as a Polyclinic, and really [refer to it] as a multi-purpose community facility.?? Whilst health care will be the anchor here, we are happy to house other key departments of Government that serve the residents of St. John and the surrounding areas…

This is an integral part of the Ministry of Health’s attempt to reform the public health care system and to ensure that health care, particularly at the primary level, remains accessible to all Barbadians," he explained.

Mr. Inniss, admitted that significant remedial works had to be undertaken on the building, pushing costs over the original estimated budget of $16.4 million.?? "…Once the contractors started work they recognised the extent of the remedial work that had to be done, plus there was some additional work that we have asked to be done since then," he said.?? He however noted that he was satisfied that the $19.3 million that would be expended on construction and the purchase of equipment for the facility was "money well spent that would certainly redound to the benefit of not just St. John but to the entire country as we upgrade our primary health care services".??

To date $12.4 million have been spent on the project and the completion date has been given a greater sense of urgency since the Health Ministry will, upon completion of the Glebe Land facility, close the St. John Outpatients Polyclinic which not only floods but was inadequate in terms of size.?? Mr. Inniss assured the staff of that clinic, that "help was on the way" and they would be redeployed to the new health care building.

A work in progress, walkway at the St. John Multi-purpose??Community Facility, slated to be completed by the end of the first quarter, 2013. (C.Pitt/BGIS)??

The "state-of the-art facility" will provide a wide range of primary health care services, including mental health, physiotherapy, family planning, an asthma bay, an x-ray/ultrasound department, pharmacy services, post and ante-natal care, and as part of the plan to decentralise health care, an ambulance bay for the vehicle which will be stationed at the facility.??

It will embrace the latest in technology, and will eventually carry an electronic patient records system and will house a library, a welfare office and the St. John Constituency Council Office.?? A facilities manager will also be on staff to ensure the adequate maintenance of the building.

Minister with responsibility for the Library Service, Stephen Lashley, also put on record his pleasure that one of his departments was included in the centre’s design.?? "The Director [of the Library], I am sure is very anxious to get into this facility to do some of the innovative things that we have been talking about in terms of delivering library services to not only the young, but to Barbadians generally," he remarked.

The original Architect, Michael Lashley, who has been retained on the project, explained that the community center would include an amphitheater, a play park with an additional performance area, demonstration areas, a lecture room and three car parks for staff and patrons, accommodating in excess of 60 cars. A gym for staff and residents has also been included and a bus shelter is being built in the hope that the route for that area would be reviewed to bring persons directly to the facility.

His current plan, he explained, also put more of a focus on security and access than in 1988 when he first designed the building. The main contractors on the job are ADC Building and Maintenance Limited.??


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