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Ontario Construction News staff writer
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre has chosen a site in Innisfil for a future health care campus.
Officials from all levels of government and the hospital gathered at the site last week for a ground-breaking ceremony, although the facility is not expected to open for about 10 years.
“This is a historic moment as we take this important step in bringing care closer to home for the people of south Simcoe County,” says Charlotte Wallis, hospital board chair.
RVH searched a 225 sq. km. area in Innisfil and south Barrie to find the right location for its south campus, settling on a centrally-located spot at Yonge Street and Innisfil Beach Road where the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre currently operates.
“Ten technical expert reviews concluded this is the ideal location for a hospital,” Hospital President and CEO Janice Skot. “RVH’s South Campus will bring significant economic growth, housing, new businesses and most importantly, enhanced healthcare services closer to home for generations to come.”
RVH’s “one system; two site” plan will evolve over the next two decades.
The first phase of the South Campus, to be built within ten years, is being called a health hub and will focus on outpatient care, including an urgent care centre. It will expand over time, becoming a full-service hospital, with a 24/7 emergency department over two decades.
When completed – 20 years from now – the facility will be about the size of the current North Campus on Georgian Drive, seeing 350,000 patient visits each year.
Over the same time period, RVH will double the size of existing hospital, building a new nine-storey inpatient tower. The two sites will run completely interdependent and services within the two-campus plan are integrated, not duplicated.
Expansion is needed to meet the needs of this booming region as more than 170,000 new residents are projected to move to south Simcoe County by 2041.
“RVH is already bursting at the seams. Prior to the pandemic its medicine bed occupancy rate consistently exceeded 115 per cent. Patients were routinely cared for in hallways,” said Skot.