The first of many expectant mothers and their families were transferred to the Women’s Hospital Sunday morning amid the facility’s long-awaited grand opening.
The facility on 665 William Ave. opened its doors at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, five years after it was initially slated to take in patients due to a series of delays.
The Women’s Hospital has had to contend with a Sherbrook Street shoring collapse in 2012, a fire at the Diagnostic Centre of Excellence in 2013 and one of the contractor’s subcontractors, the electrician, going bankrupt.
Sunday’s move was "carefully planned and choreographed" with help from Health Care Relocations, the Health Sciences Centre tweeted early Sunday.
Katherine Fox, director of communications for the HSC, said Sunday morning the team was focused on the move into the new facility and patient care.
Fox could not immediately confirm how many patients had been transferred or whether any babies had been born in the state-of-the-art facility on the corner of Sherbrook Street and William Avenue.
"As the day goes on, I’m sure we’ll hit some of those milestones," she said, adding the HSC plans to share more details on Tuesday.
At a price tag of approximately $232 million, the 388,500-square-foot facility has been touted as the province’s largest health capital project.
The hospital will offer in-patient and out-patient obstetrical, surgical and medical services. It will also house three neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) under one roof. As well, sanctuary and ceremony rooms for spiritual health and a relaxing rooftop garden.
"I can’t wait to see the entire interprofessional team working together, all on one floor in the new multi-acuity, 60-bed NICU," said Nicole Sneath, acting director of Child Health, in a Facebook post on the HSC’s page.
Lynda Tjaden, director of Women’s Health, also shared her excitement about the opening online. The new building reflects the vision from women, community members, staff and physicians who provided input into the design process, Tjaden said.
"There was lots of public consultation, lots of consultation with staff, lots of feedback from women across the province about what’d they want to see in a facility like this," said Fox, a spokeswoman for HSC.
"Seeing it all come together, where it was really thoughtfully-designed and there was a lot of input, we’re confident that women and their families and babies in the case of the NICU and labour floors will continue to receive excellent care from our experts and passionate staff."
The facility’s patient capacity will almost mirror the decades-old Notre Dame Avenue facility it’s replacing.
Meantime Sunday, operations halted at the former women’s pavilion at 735 Notre Dame Ave. Redevelopment work will begin at the facility in the new year, Fox said.
The space will eventually house a 28-bed acute stroke unit.
Maggie Macintosh is a reporter who covers every beat in the newsroom. She appreciates alliteration, when newspaper ink stains her fingertips and, more importantly, tips on social and environmental equity issues.
Updated on Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 2:37 PM CST: Adds photo
December 2, 2019 at 11:03 AM: Adds photo