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$21M grant means construction on high-tech Learners' Centre at HSN is a go

Construction on state-of-the-art medical education facility to begin in March
Health Sciences North got a huge boost in their journey towards building a brand new Learners' Centre, thanks to a one-time capital grant of up to $21,626,100 from the provincial government. (L to R) Dr. Roger Strasser, dean and CEO of NOSM; Alex Patterson, chair of HSNF; Dr. Nicole Ranger, second-year family medicine resident; Glenn Thibeault, Sudbury MPP; Nicole Everest, HSN board chair; Dominic Giroux, HSN CEO; Bill Best, president of Cambrian College. (Matt Durnan/

Health Sciences North in Sudbury got a huge boost in its journey toward building a brand new Learners' Centre, thanks to a one-time capital grant of up to $21,626,100 from the provincial government.

Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault made the announcement Feb. 9 at Health Sciences North. When completed, the 28,000-square-foot facility will include classrooms, lecture space, work stations, and on-call rooms.

The new facility will be built at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre and will accommodate 2,000 medical students, nursing students and allied health learners each year. The centre will also allow existing HSN staff and physicians to advance their skills.

"The creation of this centre will bring numerous benefits to our community," said Thibeault. "The next generation of medical professionals will be educated using cutting-edge training and techniques, (and) will create a future with better health care by ensuring that students of today have the best classroom possible."

Front and centre at the Learners' Centre will be the Simulation Lab which is currently temporarily housed at the Sudbury Outpatient Centre. The lab is designed to replicate medical settings such as an emergency or operating room. It provides training for procedures such as intubation, suturing and medical scoping. 

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has approved the construction contract for the project with a total cost of $26,289,800. The funding announcement, in addition to a $5-million commitment from Health Sciences North Foundation (HSNF), will cover the projected price tag.

In addition to providing some of the most modern training tools for health-care workers in Sudbury, the Learners' Centre is expected to be a key recruiting tool in not only bringing physicians to Northern Ontario, but retaining them as well, according to HSN board chair Nicole Everest.

"This is a monumental announcement and we're very pleased to see this project materialize," said Everest. "Over the last decade and more, HSN has experienced one of the best physician recruitment successes in its history. It's no coincidence this happened at a time where we accelerated our development as an academic sciences centre."

With the construction of the new Learners' Centre, HSN will be able to relocate their simulation lab as well as add 10 new classrooms for learners of all disciplines.

The tendering process has been completed for the project, HSN said, with shovels expected to be in the ground in March. Construction is expected to take about two years, with a completion date sometime in mid-2019.