New hospital construction officially commences

Artist impression of the St. Maarten General Hospital (SMGH)

Cay Hill – St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has officially handed over the grounds where the construction will take place to INSO, the general contractor for the construction of the new St. Maarten General Hospital (SMGH).

“This marks the official start of the construction as INSO has met all of its obligations set forth in the addendum to the original construction contract which has been approved by the consortium of lenders”, Kees Klarenbeek, Chairman of SMMC’s Board of Directors enthusiastically stated.

“It is about a year ago that we had our groundbreaking ceremony and a lot of work has been done thereafter, but now the people of St. Maarten will finally see the start of the construction of the new hospital”, Klarenbeek continued.

While the addendum to the contract was being finalized, INSO has been busy preparing for the construction for the past few months and has mobilized their construction staff, brought in construction equipment and is delivering the final design in the meantime. INSO now officially takes control of the construction site (which mainly consists of the large unpaved section east of SMMC, across from the Welgelegen Road roundabout and along the G.A. Arnell Boulevard). The first construction activities that will take place consist of: placing a fence around the construction perimeter, creating a construction site entrance/exit at the (Welgelegen Road) roundabout, initiating a site clean-up, installing a wheel washing facility for construction vehicles to prevent mud ending up on the public roads and placing a sprinkler along the fencing to minimize dust nuisance for the neighborhood.

As the construction site is currently being used for parking for staff, visitors and patients, SMMC has made arrangements for temporary parking at the Belair Community and Fitness Center and the Jehovah’s Witnesses premises, until a longer-term solution is in place by early 2020.

The construction activities for the first quarter of 2020 will consist of: the installation of the contractor’s staff facilities, the placement of acoustic barriers along the existing SMMC buildings, the installation of the 2 construction cranes, excavation works, start of placing retaining walls near the logistics access road, creation of a construction site exit along Jackal Road and the start of foundation works for the main building and technical buildings.

The estimated overall construction timeline of the St. Maarten General Hospital is as follows:

  • Completion SMGH main building: end 2022
  • Moving in SMGH main building: end 2022
  • Demolition of SMMC completed: beginning 2023
  • Start construction SMGH additional wing: beginning 2023
  • Completion of additional wing and external works: end 2023

Medical Director, Dr. Felix Holiday stated: “While the construction of the new hospital takes place, the ongoing improvements to SMMC will continue as planned in order to facilitate the growing care demand of the St. Maarten community and those of the surrounding islands and to meet SMMC’s objective of providing quality care, close to home.”

“The site handover is an exciting moment for SMMC as progress of the construction of SMGH will now be physically visible” said Klarenbeek. “We are grateful for the continuous support from the many stakeholders during the last few years. We would like to thank our medical staff, nurses, supporting staff, management and Supervisory Council who are all eagerly anticipating the completion of this extensive project which includes personal and professional employee development, the development of new policies and procedures and much more.”

“Further we would like to thank the consecutive Governments of Sint Maarten as of March 2015 when we signed the Tripartite Protocol with  SZV, SMMC and the Gumbs Government, followed by the Marlin Government, the Marlin-Romeo Government and the current Jacobs Government. Without their support, the new hospital project would have not been able to be realized. Last but not least, we’d like to thank and all health care insurers both private and public on St. Maarten and the BES Islands and our lenders, SZV, Algemeen Pensioenfonds St. Maarten, the Windward Islands Bank, Algemeen Pensioensfonds Curacao, Fatum Live, Stichting Pensioensfonds Fatum, and Banco di Caribe, all represented by the NIBanc as the Lenders’ Agent and of course the St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience Trust Fund and the World Bank.”

It is important to note that as the construction of the new hospital commences, this will also mark the start of an extended period of certain inconveniences (e.g. noise, dust, increased construction traffic, alternative parking etc.) for patients, visitors, neighbors and staff. For this, SMMC is in close contact with the stakeholders including all neighbors, to advise on the next steps in the construction process in order to mitigate any possible inconvenience.

“With this milestone of starting the construction, we also have access to the Lenders’ Fund which enables us to repay the advances for the project made by SZV from 2015 up to 2018. This is a very good start of the new year and on behalf of SMMC’s Management, I would like to wish everyone a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2020!” remarked Klarenbeek.

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