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$2M contract for new nursing home design comes to council

JUNE 22 UPDATE: Approved.

JUNE 21:  Council will review a $2,127,570 contract recommended for the design of the new long-term care home to replace the existing H.J. McFarland Memorial Home. The current 84-bed home is to become a 160-bed long-term care facility – targeted for late 2024 or early 2025.

Project Manager Tom Kovendi recommends the contract for architectural services be awarded to HDR Architecture Associates. Approval would be followed by a project schedule including design development with public, long-term care staff and stakeholders consultation, working drawings and construction documents and Ministry of Long-Term Care approval.

Five proposals were received and ranked – the lowest at $1.8M and highest at about $2.6M.

The development was accepted into the ministry’s development program in March 2018. In June, 2019, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith announced the province’s support to develop the 44-year-old municipally-operated nursing home on about four acres on County Road 49, just outside Picton.

Early cost estimates for the home are between $50-80 million depending on its design and equipment. Due consideration is to be given to the future re-purposing or demolition of the existing HJ McFarland Memorial Home and a staged approach for the construction of the new 160-bed facility.

The request for proposal also identified progress payment milestones in phases for the contract fixed price for purposes of identifying cashflow requirements. For 2021, $200,000 of the currently available $550,000 reserve has been allocated to the design. For subsequent years, design fees associated with this project are to be debt serviced.


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  1. Barbara says:

    Thanks James. Context is always helpful. I had no insight into how this industry works, so the whole price tag and timeline seems extraordinary. There is no doubt new housing is needed for long term residents since the current buildings are awful. Saying that, an even more urgent need exists to redesign how these places work on the inside so that staff isn’t used up and burnt out and residents get the care and comforts they need and deserve. It is dismal all around for everybody involved and the only reason any of it works is due to the dedication of staff. I also recognize the difference between for-profit and municipally run facilities and I say abolish the first and improve the second. The only way to make profit is off the backs of staff and our elders and it should not be tolerated. I wish the people in charge of the purse were as giddy about looking after the people currently in care as they are about their fancy new building of the future.

  2. James says:

    I have some perspective that may help (having just designed a home). I learned that design fees are generally a percentage of construction cost and average between 5% to 20% (depending on the complexity and the services). I imagine that is the same in non-residential. Doing the math here – that is 4% of construction if the total construction is at $50M. Less if its at $80M.

  3. Barbara says:

    Two million dollars for just a design. Wow. There seems to be lots of money for that but not so much to improve the lives of people in care.

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