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Photo by Mark Newman

Photo by Mark Newman

Doug Rolfe (left), vice president, project delivery at Plenary Health hands over a large ceremonial key to Dr. David Higgins, president of St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton’s West 5th campus. The handing over of the key Friday morning signified the essential completion of the new hospital at West 5th and Fennell and St. Joes is now in control of the site. The new hospital will be open to the public in early February.

St. Joes takes over new west Mountain hospital

In-patient move from former HPH slated for Feb. 9

 By Mark Newman, News Staff 

There were a lot of beaming faces in the cafeteria of St. Joseph’ s Healthcare Hamilton’s old West 5th campus Friday morning.

Plenary Health handed over a large ceremonial key to St. Joes’ officials for the $581 million mental health hospital next door that has been under construction for the past three years.

The move means work on the five storey, 855,000 square-foot hospital on the 55 acre site at West 5th and Fennell is essentially complete and St. Joes has taken over control of the site from the construction consortium.

“We are still fine tuning details in the building,” said Theresa Reynolds, project manager for St. Joes. “We’re going to prepare now to get the folks moved into the new building.”

Reynolds said staff from the former Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital will move into the new facility over three weeks starting Jan. 18 and in-patients will move in on Feb. 9.

Some out-patient programs may be up and running at the new hospital prior to the in-patient move.

Public tours of the new hospital will be available from 10 am to 4 p.m. on Jan 18 and 19.

The bigger, brighter state-of-the-art mental health facility will accommodate up to 305 in-patients, compared to 214 beds at the current hospital and all but three of those rooms are for single patients with en-suit washrooms featuring hands-free, no-tap sinks that are run by motion sensors.

In addition, there is a 5,860 square-foot gymnasium on the second floor which features a mall-like corridor that includes an activity room, used clothing store, salon and a coffee shop.

There are five meeting rooms and a 300-seat auditorium for lectures and conferences.

The new hospital will also provide community diagnostic services such as MRI, breast imaging, x-ray and ultrasound.

Landscaping work includes 16 courtyards around the hospital and a pedestrian plaza at West 5th and Fennell.

“It’s a new era in mental health care,” said Dr. David Higgins, president of the West 5th campus hospital. “We want to re-imagine how to care for patients with mental health differently. We recognize the mind and the body are connected and we want to ensure the patient’s full care is being looked after here.”

Higgins said the new facility should also eliminate any remaining stigmas the public might have about mental health.

Reynolds said the old hospital will be torn down starting in early March and be replaced by a soccer pitch, baseball diamond, walking paths and parking.

She said the new outdoor facilities should be completed by early fall next year.

The new hospital, to be officially known as the Margaret and Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare in recognition of the couple’s $10 million gift to a St. Joes’ fundraising campaign in 2011, will include a museum featuring the history of mental health services in Hamilton.


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