Premier Scott Moe was in Prince Albert Friday morning to officially announce the province’s plans to build a new hospital in the city.

The new facility will increase existing bed capacity by 40 per cent from 173 to 242 beds.

It will also include a larger emergency department, helipad and enhanced medical imaging services.

However, there is as of yet no start or finish date for construction and the government will only say the new facility will cost more than $300 million.

The province says it will pay for 100 per cent of construction costs but Premier Scott Moe would not rule out private contractors being involved.

“We have a process to decide how the project will be built,” he said. “Whether it will be a traditional build, P3, what level of design-build will come into that. It’s an audited process that we go through, the best value for money on behalf of the taxpayers and residents of Saskatchewan. That process will be beginning shortly, so I won’t preclude the outcome of that process.”

Public-private partnerships, or P3s, to build hospitals has become a controversial topic in Saskatchewan.

A P3 project was used to build the new North Battleford hospital and it was found to have a leaky roof a few months after it opened.

Prince Albert Grand Council Chief Brian Hardlotte was also on hand for the announcement and he said the tribal council will work with the province to ensure the new hospital is a culturally sensitive place.

“We want it to be comfortable for our member First Nations,” he said. “Culturally inviting and responsive. An area where you feel comfortable. There are hospitals like that where they have maybe some traditional ceremonies in these hospitals, that’s for sure what we are striving for.”

Plans for the new hospital also include a new acute care tower, replacement of the existing adult mental health space and renovations to the existing Victoria Hospital.

The city and Victoria Hospital Foundation will be responsible for raising funds for furniture and equipment.

(PHOTO: Prince Albert Grand Council Chief Brian Hardlotte looks at a design for the new hospital in Prince Albert. Photo by Fraser Needham.)