The Alberta government has opened the Norwood West building at the Gene Zwozdesky Centre in Edmonton. “Norwood West is part of a $410 million renovation and expansion project that will significantly increase post-acute and continuing care capacity,” said Alberta Infrastructure Minister Peter Guthrie at a Tuesday press conference. “At just over 38,000 square metres, this seven storey facility is a much needed addition to the centre.” Guthrie called Norwood West “one of the most modern, technologically advanced, complex care facilities in the province.” Since the Alberta government is not done yet, he said work will begin on the final phase of this project, which includes renovating the east building. Once completed, the total project will add 145 long-term care beds to the Gene Zwozdesky Centre for a total of 350. He said these additional beds will ease pressure on the healthcare system by reducing demand for emergency department visits, in-patient services at hospitals and continuing care placements. Once completed, the Gene Zwozdesky Centre will provide more beds, an accessible green roof, a dental clinic, new ambulatory clinics and support programs for people with complex needs requiring long-term or palliative care. Work began on this project in 2019 when a team of architects, designers, tradespeople, and construction workers collaborated with Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health, CapitalCare and Alberta Infrastructure to plan, design, and build it. He described it as an economic generator for Edmonton, creating about 2,200 construction jobs. Guthrie said it is projects like this one that have a major, long-term impact on communities. This is because they create jobs, attract investment and ensure people get the best healthcare when and where they need it. Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said it has been a busy four years with the planning, design and construction work to deliver on Norwood West. “But building a responsive healthcare system that meets the needs of Albertans is essential to ensuring our province provides the best healthcare possible,” said LaGrange. “The completion of the Norwood West building brings us closer to achieving this goal for people living in Edmonton and surrounding areas.” LaGrange acknowledged it “addresses the need to grow continuing care capacity while meeting the evolving and complex requirements of acute and community care.” Once the Gene Zwozdesky Centre is completed, she said it will serve as a hub for people needing specialized healthcare, relieving pressure in areas such as acute care and emergency services. CapitalCare Chief Operating Officer Aileen Wong said plenty of work has happened to get Norwood West where it is today. “Because this is about the residents, and they are the heart of what we do,” said Wong. “I think we can relate to the excitement of the thought of moving in.” As residents move in, she said people should think about their excitement of seeing a building go up beside them, picking out a new room, and packing up the old one. She admitted she has been thinking about the outdoor spaces that will allow all residents to enjoy being outside. The Alberta Continuing Care Association (ACCA) welcomed the Budget 2023 announcement about the government spending $1 billion over three years for continuing care transformation in February. READ MORE: Alberta Continuing Care Association welcomes UCP Budget 2023The ACCA noted money spent by the Alberta government will support the shift of care to the community, enhance workforce capacity, increase choice and innovation, and improve the quality of care.“On behalf of our members who represent continuing care operators across Alberta, we are pleased with the commitment to transform care,” said ACCA Executive Director Wayne Morishita.