Soo Line Historical Museum
Weyburn, Saskatchewan

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Weyburn Mental Hospital





By far the largest building in Saskatchewan, and a highly creditable addition to the many beautiful and substantial buildings erected by the Government of Saskatchewan, is the new Provincial Government Mental Hospital, which was officially opened at Weyburn in December 1921. The building extends over a large area, but the design is so attractive and the building so well proportioned that it is difficult to realize its size and capacity until one traverses the long corridors and spacious, sunny apartments.

In designing the building, the architect departed from the cold and formal lines along which many of the institutions of this nature are designed, and the building is most attractive, sunny and cheerful, while admirably adapted for its purpose as a hospital for the mentally ill. The plans of the building were prepared by M.W. Sharon, Architect, Regina, who, after consultation with several of the leading medical directors of some of the most up-to-date institutions for the treatment of mental diseases on the continent, has planned a building modern in construction, economical and convenient to operate and containing a combination of the most modern methods of treatment for the mentally sick.

The building is connected with the city water and sewerage system, but produces its own power, electric light and heat from a large central power plant. The administration section and the end portions of each wing are three story's and basement, while the wings proper are two story's and basement. Provision is made in the plans for the erection at a future date of two or more wings, so that the building when completed will resemble the letter X, with the administration block in the centre. The building is of brick construction, with steel frame, and the construction is fireproof throughout.

Nearly a thousand cars of material were required for the building. A total of 4,294,000 bricks were used, with 1,298,000 feet of rough lumber, and 278,000 hollow tiles. There is a total of 257,500 square feet of floor area, of which 101,000 is maple and 156,500 cement or terrazzo floor. Thirteen hundred tons of steel were used for the frame. The total cost of the building is slightly over $2,250,000 exclusive of the furniture and fittings.

The general contract for the construction of the hospital was carried out by the Poole Construction Company, Limited, and Frost Brothers, of Moose Jaw, had the contract for the plumbing, heating, electrical work and kitchen equipment.

-The Administration Section-

The administration block is divided into several departments. On the ground floor are found the offices of the superintendent, assistant superintendent, secretary, bursar, matron, general office, vaults, and reception room for visitors. These offices are arranged on either side of a fourteen foot corridor finished in marble and after passing through which one enters to the centre rotunda, from which the main stairway leads to the first floor. On either side wide corridors lead to the wings, and at the rear of the rotunda is the auditorium, which is provided with a stage, a gallery and moving picture apparatus.

On each side of the main hall are service rooms connected with large dining rooms, the service rooms each being served with elevators from the kitchen, which is on the top floor. Passing to the left or right through wide corridors one enters the wings. At the ends of the administration building, and between the wings, is the hydrotherapeutic equipment with dressing rooms, electric baths, shampoo tables, pack tables, pack sinks and other equipment used in the treatment of mental and nervous diseases.

In the basement of the administration section, under the auditorium, is placed the institutions store, with delivery room, storekeeper's office, stock room, refrigerator rooms, receiving room, etc. In the basement of the front portion is the examining room, matron's check room, dispensary, store room for drugs, transformer room, X-ray room, machinery room in which is placed a motor generator set, operating an automatic push button elevator, remote controlled. In the left section is a service room and a large staff dining room, also another service room and a large staff dining room, also another service room in which vegetables and meats are prepared before being taken to the kitchen to be cooked. Large staff dining rooms are provided, and portion of this section of the building is taken up by exercise rooms which may be used by the patients in bad weather. At the ends of the administration section are to be found the bath rooms, with tub and shower baths.

The stairways lead from different points in this section to all floors. On the first floor and above the administration section, is to be found a living room, dining room and bedrooms for the administration staff. A room has been provided for an institutional library, and there are two balconies for the use of the officials of the Institution.

On either side of the main corridor is to be found a service room and dining room similar to those on the ground floor, and the ends of the administration unit are provided with tub and shower baths similar to those in the basement.

On the top floor over the administration section is the surgical and medical hospital, with wards and day rooms for men and women, a service room, nurses' room, anaesthetic, operating and sterilizing rooms.

The kitchen occupies the centre rear of the top floor, from which two elevators serve the service rooms on the floors below. Adjoining the kitchen is the chef's office, dining room, and pantry. To the right of the kitchen is the steam room, in which are placed convenient to the kitchen, in which is kept the day's supply of food. Further to the right is found the bakery and dough room, in which is placed a dough mixer, dough troughs, etc. Adjoining this is a proof room, and a large airy room is provided to hold a stock of bread, which is baked in an electric oven having a batch capacity of three hundred two pound loaves. A feature of the building is that the whole of the cooking and baking is done by electricity and steam.

-The Wings-

The two wings are similar in design, and each contains on the ground floor three large dormitories, three day rooms, six verandas, single rooms, locker rooms, baths and toilets, diet kitchens, linen rooms, etc. In the basement of the wings are workrooms, exercise rooms, fan rooms, locker rooms, trade rooms, classrooms, toilets, etc., and another portion of the basement has been laid off as a disturbed section. This is provided with single rooms, a day room, verandas, diet kitchen, toilets and continuous flowing baths. The first floor of the wings is laid out similarly to the ground floor, and on the top floor of one wing is the nurses' home, and on the other a home for the male attendants.


-The Power House -

The power house, laundry and warehouse are situated side by side about two hundred feet in the rear of the administration building. Like the main building these are constructed of the same Tee-Pee-Moka brick and Tyndall stone.

The power house is equipped with four water tube boilers set in two batteries, each boiler is two hundred and fifty horse power and carrying on hundred and seventy five pounds pressure. The boilers are fed by chain grate stokers, motor driven. In a tunnel below the boiler room floor are ash conveyors to remove the ashes. In the engine room, which is done in white enamel brick, are three engine generators. These are of the vertical, two cylinder, compound, non-condensing type capable of developing two hundred and twenty-five brake horse power. The generators consist of one 125 K. V. A., and two 188 K. V. A., 2,300 volts, and are directly connected with the vertical engines.

-The Water Supply -

In an institution of this size the question of water supply is a serious one. Various forms of baths have been found of great benefit in restoring patients to normal state of mind. Continuous flowing baths, salt baths, tub, shower and sitz baths, and massage form an important part of the treatment, which required large quantities of water. The whole question, however, has been satisfactorily solved by an agreement with the city of Weyburn, which guarantees to supply the institutions requirements. Upwards of one hundred thousand gallons per day will be necessary.

-The Staff -

Among the official appointments to the staff may be mentioned the superintendent, Dr. R. M. Mitchell; assistant superintendent Dr. A. D. Campbell, formerly assistant superintendent at the Battleford Institution; matron Miss e. J. Rogers, formerly assistant matron at Battleford; head engineer and mechanical superintendent, Geo. V. Reed; house physician, Dr. Bird; bursar, F. J. Ballantyne; storekeeper, S. Murray. Messrs. Walter Martin, W. G. Bond and Arch. Tennant who have represented the Department of Public Works since the commencement, will remain on the work until the building is completely finished.

The building at present has a capacity for nine hundred patients, sixty nurses and sixty attendants but when the two wings at the rear are added the institution will accommodate 1800 patients and staff.


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