Architect and mother of two leading new hospital construction

Eleanor has spent her entire life creating things. Now she's using her talents to shape the future of health care in the Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre.

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If you’ve been to BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre lately, you will have noticed a new structure rising up from the centre of the campus. The Teck Acute Care Centre, which opens later this fall, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of people ranging from physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, to equipment planners, project managers and contractors.

At the helm of this project, is an extraordinary woman: 

Eleanor Lee, Chief Project Officer for the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project

Eleanor joined the project in 2010 and has watched it come to life from ideas and design sketches to the impressive concrete, steel and glass building currently under construction on the hospital campus. “I had the opportunity to start something from nothing, from an idea in the clouds,” she recalls. “Now, we’re on the cusp of finishing. It’s so exciting to have been there from the beginning, to turn concepts into reality.”

This project holds a special place in Eleanor’s heart and her personal connection has motivated her from day one. “My daughter was born at BC Women’s Hospital,” she says, “and both of my children have been patients in the BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. The hospital was here for me and now I have the privilege of leading the design and construction of what health care will look like for families in the future. That’s really important to me.”

Being a woman in a leadership role on construction projects hasn’t always been easy, especially years ago at the beginning of her career. “A new graduate from architecture school, going out on site and essentially directing contractors who’ve been in the business for 30 or 40 years, it’s not an easy thing,” she recalls. 

However, she decided to face those challenges head-on and learn from them, which has served her well in the years since, shaping her both personally and professionally. “There’s nothing to replace life lessons,” she reflects. It’s advice she’d give to anyone starting out in his or her career. “Listen and learn,” she continues. “Everybody has an opinion about something. One thing I firmly believe in is that no opinion is wrong, it’s just different, and people can learn from a change in perspective.”

Eleanor has spent her entire life creating things and that creative process delights her. Over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to lead a number of projects that have created lasting impacts on her community. When asked what part of this project excites her most, she smiles and says, “The most exciting part of this project for me is yet to come. It will be when I walk through the doors of the new hospital and see how seven years of work have shaped the way we deliver healthcare to patients and their families.”

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