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Construction of new Groves hospital officially underway

Breaking ground - Politicians, donors, service clubs, hospital representatives and other stakeholders gathered in Aboyne on Aug. 9 for an official ground breaking ceremony for the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital.  Photo by Jaime Myslik

Construction of new Groves hospital officially underway

by Jaime Myslik

ABOYNE - Construction of the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Aboyne is officially underway.

After more than a decade of waiting a ceremonial ground breaking on the 14-hectare new hospital site took place on Aug. 9 where it was announced the hospital is scheduled for completion in 2020.

“This is really an exciting day for the people of Wellington County, for the people who rely on Groves Memorial for their health needs and for the health professionals who work tirelessly to ensure that patients are getting the best possible care,” said Guelph MPP Liz Sandals.

“Congratulations to all of you on the ground breaking and start of construction on your new hospital and thank you all for your hard work to get here.”

Sandals explained the community has outgrown the current Groves hospital building in Fergus.

The building, constructed in 1955, “just isn’t big enough to accommodate the growth in this community and it isn’t in keeping with the current standards of care,” she said.

“So that’s why our government is investing more than $144 million to build a new modern hospital to serve Wellington County.”

Groves president and CEO Stephen Street explained the features of the new hospital are tailored to local patients.

“Eight out of every 10 patients that walk through our doors [are outpatients],” he explained. “They’re treated in emerg, diagnostic imaging, ambulatory care or day surgery.

“So there’s been a lot of discussion around the number of beds, but we really put our square footage and our focus on the bulk of the patients that we serve and where we have the greatest growth.”

Jeff Nesbit, acting board chair for the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network, said the new Groves hospital “will make it easier for residents of Wellington to receive the exceptional care they deserve ... in a safe environment.”

About six years ago Groves officials learned a new hospital project was approved.

“This was a new endeavour for us because it involved Infrastructure Ontario and their design-build finance model and we spent a lot of time understanding that and ensuring that we aligned appropriately,” Street explained.

Earlier this summer it was announced that Groves and Infrastructure Ontario had closed a $127.5-million deal with EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare for the design, construction and financing of the new hospital.

John McKendrick, executive vice-president for Infrastructure Ontario, said the new hospital “will be much more than a shiny new building, it will transform the experience and quality of care of patients, benefitting your community for years to come.”

He added it will also “open up a considerable amount of jobs directly and indirectly.”

In addition to the $144 million from the Ontario government, the hospital and local municipal governments have been raising money to furnish and purchase equipment for the new hospital.

“This is where the county has been able to help, along with all the residents who contribute to the county’s tax base,” said Wellington County Warden Dennis Lever.

“Having a new state-of-the-art health facility will not only help the Township of Centre Wellington expand healthcare facilities here, but also help the county’s healthcare industry and that’s an important part of our economic development.

“We’re certainly looking forward to seeing how this new facility will have positive impacts on the health and wellness of all our ... Wellington communities as well as the residents here.”

The county has contributed about $10 million towards the new hospital.

Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton said the new hospital “will be a huge boost to Centre Wellington.

“Our medical staff will continue to provide excellent patient services but in 2020 these services will be offered in a state-of-the-art modern facility located perfectly between Fergus and Elora.”

While there was an air of excitement on Aug. 9, it was also acknowledged that the new hospital construction didn’t happen overnight.

“Through the intervening 15 years, there were ups and downs, twists and turns, meetings and briefings, lots of speeches, phone calls, emails and letters, private conversations, and even a complete revision of the redevelopment plan to the idea of a new build on a greenfield site,” said Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.

“We set aside partisan differences, we worked across party lines with no fewer than five Ministers of Health and their respective staffs, and slowly but surely we made progress towards our vision of a new hospital for our growing community.”

Arnott said he has a vested interest in the hospital because he was born at the current Groves hospital on April 8, 1963.

Groves board chair Ian Hornsby said, “After years of discussing, advocating, fundraising, designing and planning for a new hospital it is exciting to physically see the new Groves hospital actually begin to take shape.

“Thank you to all who have participated in the planning over the past 10 years and more.”

Features of the new hospital will include:

- more space for emergency, ambulatory, diagnostic and inpatient services;

-  37 of the 45 beds will be in private, single-patient rooms with a dedicated washroom and shower and large windows (the remaining eight beds will be in two-bed rooms each with a private washroom);

- all inpatient rooms will have views of the surrounding rural landscape, including the Grand River and extensive trail network;

- modernized infection control measures, including additional isolation facilities, to enhance the hospital’s ability to respond to a pandemic or disease outbreak;

- a helipad to allow for faster access to patient transfers by air ambulance;

- large windows that allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building;

- simplified “way-finding,” making it easy for visitors and patients to navigate the hospital; and

- services most frequently used by outpatients will positioned closest to the main entrance to ensure easy access.

 

August 11, 2017

 
 

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