Old Groves hospital to be demolished

FERGUS – It’s official: the old Groves hospital here will be demolished and the Union Street property sold, with sale proceeds reinvested in future health care services in the area.

The Wellington Health Care Alliance (WHCA), which operates Groves Memorial Community Hospital, first announced in June 2022 that demolition of the previous site was the most likely outcome.

WHCA officials confirmed the final decision to proceed with those plans in a Nov. 27 press release.

“The building has been vacant since August 2020 when the new hospital opened,” the release states.

“A committee consisting of hospital staff and board members worked with the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health West … to explore all possible options for use of the old site. Unfortunately, none are financially viable options.”

Groves president and CEO Angela Stanley explained that “Even though the old hospital may look good from the outside, there is a long list of underlying building issues.”

She noted items that need to be addressed include:

  • replacing the entire sewage system, boilers, roof, and elevators;
  • asbestos abatement;
  • repairs to the electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and plumbing systems; and
  • foundation repairs.

Stanley added Ministry of Health funding to operate the old site stopped on March 31 of this year.

“Since that time, [Groves hospital] is paying to keep required life safety systems in place and maintain the property while decisions were being made,” she said.

“These funds will be better used to operate the new hospital site.”

Stanley said decommissioning work took place at the old building this spring and summer to empty any remaining contents.

Watford-based Schouten Construction was awarded the demolition contract through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, she added.

Stanley noted work will start “over the next month” and the demolition should take “several months” to complete.

“Plans are underway to decide on how to commemorate the site and its significance,” she stated.

Members of the public can submit questions about the old hospital site to commsadmin@whca.ca.