Feniak anticipates new Groves Memorial Community Hospital opening in 2019

Building committee chair Gord Feniak hopes to see a 2019 opening for the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital.

At a Centre Wellington town hall meeting on Nov. 26, Feniak said it is great when the hospital feels like part of the community.

While the current hospital is on Union Street in Fergus, the new hospital will be on Wellington Place lands between Fergus and Aboyne.

Feniak pointed to maps showing the new roadway constructed from Beatty Line which connects to the internal roads system at Wellington Place. The new 30-acre site is located between this new roadway and the Elora Cataract Trailway.

Feniak said the first step was the construction of the roadway. Next is construction of the hospital itself.

“Then at the south end … although currently only in our imagination … will be an integrated health care facility.”

These services will be related to health care but not traditionally associated with a hospital, he said.

Feniak said until the end of 2014, the hospital went through a process with the Ministry of Health.

Its job was to ensure the facilities are needed, the size is correct and commitments are made for public spending.

He said those involved were happy to complete the process just before Christmas in 2014.

From there, the project moved under the direction of the Ministry of Infrastructure which is to build all kinds of capital projects in the province.

He added the new facility must be operationally ready even before the move to allow for a smooth transition.

“And when we do move in, it has to feel like we’ve been there for a long time.”

Currently, the process is looking first at what spaces are needed, then which spaces need to be adjacent to those areas.

“We spent the summer doing something we don’t believe has been done in Canada before for hospital design.”

Feniak said consultants suggested those involved not look at the fact they were working in a 50-year-old hospital and instead start with a blank sheet of paper and come up with ideas as to what would make it easier for staff to do their jobs – and what would make it best for patients.

Feniak said the meetings involved not only staff – but other health care providers, agencies, patients and a broad range of people.

He used the example of patient falls in the hospital setting.

Feniak said some instances arise from patients getting up at night to go to the washroom and wanting to be independent – and falling.

Staff suggested it would be awesome to simply have a handrail from the patient bed to the washroom. After considerable discussion, Feniak said a way was found to provide those handrails.

Feniak stated, “We’ve already designed the hospital ad nauseum, they will design it again looking for efficiencies in construction. The task is finding large mega-designers and contractors who work together doing hospital projects.”

Following the invitation process, the building committee will choose three and next spring those three, will begin the redesign and one firm will be chosen to build the new hospital.

That puts the timeline to 2017 for the design, followed by a two-year building period.

“We’re looking at mid-2019 for occupancy,” said Feniak.