11/22/2016 15:50 EST | Updated 11/23/2017 00:12 EST

Misericordia Hospital rebuilds after devastating 2013 flood

A major flood at Edmonton's Misericordia Community Hospital three years ago turned out to have a silver lining, according to the province and Covenant Health.

The damaged areas have since been refashioned into a "state-of-the-art" Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where staff will care for premature babies.

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The renovations also expanded the unit from 15 beds to 23 private rooms, including two rooms specifically for twins.

"This will dramatically improve care," said Gail Cameron, senior director of operations for women's and child health, in a news release.

"Having a quieter space tailored specifically to their needs and increased privacy makes it easier for families to spend more time with their infants."

The May 2013 flood also damaged the second-floor mental health unit, which was rebuilt with more private and semi-private rooms, therapy space, and an exercise area.

"This NICU is an outstanding example of what can happen when adversity is turned into opportunity," said Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

The flood, caused by a ruptured valve, forced dozens of patients to be moved.

About 72,000 litres of water flowed down to the main floor and basement along walls and through electrical fixtures.  

The flood, and two others months later, prompted some political leaders to call for the Misericordia to be replaced altogether.

The total cost of rebuilding the two units was $17.7 million.

The Covenant Foundation contributed $2.5 million and an extra $1.7 million for equipment. The remaining $15.2 million will come from the province.

Both units should be fully operational next week.