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TuesdayOctober28201411HEALTHWELLNESSFACILITIESFortSmithcutsribbononrenovatedhealthcentreByMEAGANWOHLBERGAfteryearsofrenovationsriddledwiththesoundofjackhammersthestressofrelocationsandthescatteringofservicesallacrosstownFortSmithcelebratedthereintegrationofitshealthandsocialser-viceslastFridaywiththeopeningofitsupgradedstate-of-the-arthealthcentre.EverythingthatwehaveunderHealthandSocialServicesisunderthisroofanditisfantasticandallowsustodeliveraveryhighqualityofservicestothetownofFortSmithhealthauthorityCEOPhyllisMawdsleytoldthecrowdedfoyerpackedwithhealthcentreemployeesandpeoplefromthroughoutthecommunity.Imreallythrilledtoseesomanypeo-pleherebecausewhatyouretellingusisthatthisbuildingisanincrediblepartofyourcommunitynotedHealthandSo-cialServicesMinisterGlenAbernethywhocamedownfromYellowknifeforthecelebrations.HesaidtherenovationslikethosetakingplaceinotherfacilitiesacrosstheterritorysignalthegovernmentscommitmenttothemodernizationofhealthcareforNWTresi-dentsdrivenbytheclientsneeds.Thisisa30-millionrenovationanditsourcommitmenttoFortSmithandhigh-qual-ityprovisionofcarethatyourstaffprovideAbernethysaid.Theynowhaveastate-of-the-arthometomeetyourneedswhichwethinkiswonderful.Therenovatedfacilityhasasinglewin-dowreceptionforallcareservices.Primarycarecomposedofthemedicalclinicpublichealthandcommunitycounsellingislo-catedinthewestwingeachwiththeirownprivatearea.Socialandrehabserviceshavetheirownareasontheoppositesideofthebuildinglinkedtotheemergencywardbyanewmidwiferysuiteandthelabs.UpgradestoFortSmithshealthfacilitiesbeganin2008withrenovationstothecom-munityslong-termcarefacilitytheNorthernLightsspecialcarehome.Renovationstothehealthcentrestartedafterledbythreedif-ferentCEOsduringitsthreephases.ForthepastsixorsevenyearsitsbeenverybusyexcitingandattimesstressfulforthoseinvolvedinthisprojectreectedhealthauthorityboardchairBrendaJohn-son.Thehardworkcommitmentandde-terminationhaspaidoffforthemembersofourcommunity.JohnsonthankedthecontractorsinvolvedincompletingtherenovationsthestafffortheirinputandpatienceandtherenovationworkinggroupcomposedofMawdsleyNatalieCamp-bellKaterinaTsaknakiandSuzanneSihikal.ThesefourladieshadthetaskandattimesImsureitfeltliketheburdenplacedonthemtoseethisprojectthroughfromstartton-ish.Theyaccomplishedthisinadditiontotheirdailyjobs.TheseladiesareamazingJohnsonsaid.ThoughThebachaMLAandformerHealthMinisterMichaelMiltenbergerwasunabletomakethegrandopeningeventhesentamessagewithAbernethyalsoreectingonthefacilityslongpathtorealization.ThisissomethingthatIknowheperson-allyhasbeenworkingonsincehewasrstelectedAbernethysaid.InfacthesaidIstartedworkingonthatthedayIgotelectedanditsnallyopen.So19years-thatsprettygoodheaddedjokingly.Abernethysaidatonepointintimeem-ployeesatthehealthcentrewereforcedtoworkwiththedeafeningsoundsofconstruc-tiongoingonfordaysonend.ThestaffhaveremainedtrueandworkedthroughthiscrazyrenovationandnowtheyhavethefacilitytheyneedtoprovidethehighqualityofcareAbernethysaid.AlongwiththeribboncuttingSmithsLandingFirstNationelderFrancoisPauletteblessedthenewfacilitywithaprayerandmembersofthepublicweretakenonguidedtoursofthefacilityfollowingremarks.FortSmithssocialworkteamtsunderoneroofwiththerestofthehealthauthorityincludingcommunitycounsellingpublichealththemedicalclinicandrehab.FromleftsocialworkersJoanneGauthierMaryBishopandAmandaRobinson.SmithsLandingelderFrancoisPauletteopensthehealthcentregrandopeningfestivitieswithablessingforthenewfacility.PhotosMeaganWohlbergDirectorofsocialprogramsKristyJonestakesresidentsonatouroftherenovatedhealthcentre.HealthMinisterGlenAbernethyandchairofFortSmithshealthmanagementboardBrendaJohnsoncuttheribbononthenewhealthcentre.