With a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, September 5, Saba Cares is moving forward with the new construction and expansion of a care institution, including the construction of a new nursing home in The Bottom, next to the current hospital building.
Construction will take place in two phases. Saba Cares expects that the entire construction will take a total of 3 years before all buildings can be put into use. After a meticulous tender procedure, Saba Cares awarded the construction contract to QBR Joint Venture B.V., a collaboration between a Saban and a Canadian contractor.
3 Living groups
The new nursing home will consist of three living groups, each with 7 to 9 single apartments. The nursing home will accommodate a total of 24 residents, who need 24-hour care. In addition to a restaurant, an activity center, and a quiet center, an additional 17 apartments will be built.
Two and a half years of planning, elaboration, and negotiation preceded this moment. But even before Saba became part of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010, people already talked and dreamed about a new nursing home. The current Home for the Elderly dates back to 1980 and needs to be replaced by a more modern, suitable facility.
From the very beginning of this process, Saba Cares was supported by Martin Moes and Marein Duijn of Triatact B.V., a construction consultancy company in the Netherlands specializing in care housing. Two advisors from St. Maarten were added to assess the regional aspects in the last part of the process. The design of the building is by the architectural company IXI Design from St. Maarten.
Local government support
The development plans of Saba Cares were enthusiastically received by the Public Entity Saba from the start and the island government has offered (practical) support in the development of the plans and will continue to do so.
Commissioner of Public Health Eviton Heyliger reconfirmed his support for the project. “Finally, we have reached the point where the community of Saba will realize the long-awaited construction of a modern hospital and care home facilities. This is a proud moment for all. This could not have been possible without the involvement of the Ministry of VWS in the Netherlands along with other stakeholders, including Saba Cares. Cheers to all,” Heyliger said.
The Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS) in the Netherlands is responsible for the financing of the buildings and furnishings. “With the realization of these plans, a long-standing wish of the Ministry of Health and also of me personally is being fulfilled. I consider this to be the most important missing step in the modernization of the care offered on Saba. I am very grateful to Judith Meijer and everyone else involved for this,” said Herbert Barnard, Director at the Ministry of VWS.
Judith Meijer, Board of Directors of Saba Cares, is very satisfied with the results achieved thus far. “With the new building, Saba Cares wants to realize a modern building, comfortable for clients and employees, that fits in with contemporary views on living and nursing,” Meijer said.
“The apartments will be dedicated to clients who, either for medical reasons or for social reasons, need a ‘safe’ environment with care nearby. Saba Cares will develop a working method for the latter group together with the Community Development Department,” Meijer stated.