A plan to convert a former school in West Alexander into a medical clinic is moving ahead.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority wants to transform the former Ellen Douglass School on Elgin Avenue into an outpatient clinic. The building, which dates back to 1960, is located on the north side of Health Sciences Centre.
The Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community committee concurred in the recommendation of the application at a meeting on Dec. 3.
The proponent is now required to register the property at Winnipeg Land Titles and Personal Property Office by Nov. 21, 2020, as well as submit construction drawings and apply for building and development permits.
The medical clinic would consolidate 13 existing internal medicine clinics which are currently dispersed throughout the city.
Dale Gustafson, the managing director of the University of Manitoba’s department of internal medicine, said centralizing these services would improve health care experiences for patients: it would allow them to book multiple appointments for one day, reduce travel time, and provide access to several specialists at once.
"For our patients, to have all those resources in one place allows us the opportunity to give better care," Gustafson said.
It would also allow medical professionals to collaborate with each other, he said, which is significant because HSC is a teaching hospital.
"We’re really excited because we’ll all be together as a team," he said.
At the community committee meeting in December, Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas), whose ward the building is located in, expressed concern for the passageway between HSC and the medical clinic. Santos noted that dimly lit areas, such as those between the two facilities, could harbour unsafe activity.
She pushed for increased lighting and for cameras to be installed, adding that she might encourage a walking program to be implemented in the future.
"You always want to make sure your employees or any patrons using your facility are safe," Santos said. "I think this is a really great amenity for the community."
Additionally, the outdoor space will be monitored by security at HSC, project planners said.
Although the facility’s exterior would not change much, the front of the building would be finished with metal panels while the brick on the other sides would be maintained.
There would be limited on-site and on-street parking; drivers would be expected to use the parkade on William Avenue and underground lots at the new Women’s Hospital.
Work at the site is expected to begin late-January, Gustafson said, and they’re hoping to occupy the interior space in the summer of 2021.
The Ellen Douglass School shared space with the Child Guidance Clinic of Winnipeg. It was funded jointly by the Winnipeg School Division and the Manitoba Department of Health and Social Services, according to the Manitoba Historical Society.
The school closed in 1980 and eventually the child guidance clinic, more recently known as Clinical Support Services, took over the whole building.
WSD put the building up for sale in 2015 and the WRHA purchased it in 2017.
Last November, council approved a subdivision plan and amendment to the zoning by-law to rezone the land to an education and institutional district.
Community Journalist - The Times
Sydney Hildebrandt is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at email@example.com