A $3.8 million project that will double the surgical capacity at the hospital in Windsor, N.S., will also force the existing operating room to close down for up to four months, starting in August.
The renovations will upgrade the operating room currently in use and overhaul an second, unused OR to bring it up to modern standards.
The shutdown will mean the six staff now assigned to the Hants Community Hospital operating room will be temporarily moved to another facility. It will also mean transferring about 180 surgeries that would normally take place at the hospital to other centres.
Most of those patients are expected to be accommodated at the Dartmouth General Hospital or treated at a nearby private facility owned by Scotia Surgery.
Spare room not up to code
"This is a very short-term disruption for long-term gain for Nova Scotians," Premier Stephen McNeil told a small gathering in the hospital's main corridor Thursday.
When the Hants Community Hospital was built in 1976, it included two operating rooms but only one was ever fully equipped and used.
The project will completely overhaul the spare operating room. Site chief of surgery Alex Mitchell said it makes sense to at the same time upgrade the lighting in the one currently in use.
"In the currently unused operating room, the issue is mechanical and electrical and other things," he said. "It's simply not up to code and not able to function as a modern proper operating room."