Mega-hospital to be located at County Road 42 and Conc. 9

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell

The proposed mega-hospital for the region will be located in Windsor, at County Road 42 and Concession 9, The Star has learned.

It is part of a multi-site plan to be revealed Thursday that will reshape how health care is delivered locally.

Sources say 70 per cent of patients live within a 10-minute drive of the proposed site, a 60-acre parcel close to Windsor Airport that is near an existing transit route with connections to major roads and highways.

Between 60 and 67 per cent of the Windsor Regional Hospital’s staff lives within 10 kilometres of the site.

The cost of the land and connections to existing services in the area totals $6 million, according to sources.

A 10-member site selection committee spent 1,400 hours over the past 15 months studying and ranking an initial list of 20 properties on 32 criteria.

“The city and county populations are roughly equal, so access was important,” a source said. “If the No. 1 goal was patient-centred access, this package does that.”

The complex plan calls for redevelopment at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette and Metropolitan campuses along with the erection of a four-storey, stand-alone emergency department on the former Grace Hospital site.

There will also be an expansion at the non-acute care Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare site on Prince Road.

The nearly $2-billion plan still requires the approval of the Ministry of Health, which received the plans a month ago.

Sources said a closing date of July 2017 has been set for the new hospital property. That date can be moved up pending Ministry of Health approval of the project, which could come as early as next year.

Approval from the ministry to proceed to Stage 2 of the five-stage process means the hospital will definitely be built.

In comparing properties on the short list, the chosen property came up a clear winner.

According to sources what separated the property from the rest of the field were accessibility, size and helipad accommodation. It’s a clean site which will allow for easy development, with no heritage or environmental designations.

The land is already designated for institutional use or large-scale developments, sources say.

The site also has the advantage of having two access roads and being very visible from those thoroughfares.

“This site had very few issues,” another source said. “Some sites had issues with wetlands, the environment and even train tracks.”

The source added choosing the site was based strictly on a scoring system. The committee used 32 criteria to score the properties individually. The process was repeated with each shortlisted property and each contender was assigned an agreed upon score, sources said.

The second phase of the scoring took into account property price and servicing costs. The totals were combined to come up with a winner.

The committee also hired a fairness adviser to ensure a strict process was followed.

“It was straightforward facts from the scoring,” the source said of the decision.

The mega-hospital will cover 1.6 million square feet and rise 10 storeys high.

It’ll have a little over 500 beds when it opens with 80 per cent of those being private rooms. The rest will be semi-private rooms with each occupant having their own bathroom.

Within 10 years of opening the plans call for over 700 beds.

Once approval is received for the project, it’ll take another seven to eight years before it’s open.