Timeline for new acute care hospital expected within weeks

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The timeline for the new acute care hospital should be revealed in the next couple of weeks as Stage 2 of the project progresses, the head of Windsor Regional Hospital said Monday while speaking at a Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) meeting.

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David Musyj, president and chief executive officer of Windsor Regional Hospital, said work is well under way preparing a request for proposals (RFP) for an architect for the project.

“The timeline for our project is going to be disclosed as part of the RFP process,” said Musyj, who spoke virtually rather than in person after he was possibly exposed to COVID-19 over the last few days.

“So I would expect over the next week, we’re probably going to hear some news with respect to the timing of our project and when it’s going to be going to tender and when arguably a shovel will be put into the ground.”

Site of the future Windsor-Essex single-site acute care hospital at County Road 42 and 9th Concession Road, photographed May 2021.
Site of the future Windsor-Essex single-site acute care hospital at County Road 42 and 9th Concession Road, photographed May 2021. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Musyj told the group of about 50 Rotarians that several thousand Windsor and Essex County residents have contributed feedback on what priorities, amenities and design principles are needed for the hospital.

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“The functional program is to put it into words what we want to build,” Musyj said. “And then giving it to the architects and saying, ‘Okay you design around these words.’

“We don’t want the design to drive the function, we want the function to drive the design,” he said. “We’re going to be working on architectural drawings, have preliminary cost estimates by the end of this year.

“And we will have it submitted to the government by the start of next year. So it’s moving along rather rapidly.”

Supply chain issues could impact the build timeframe estimate depending on when the shovel goes in the ground, Musyj said, as well as other demands on the construction market.

“There’s a limited amount of entities that can build a structure of this magnitude,” he said. “And as a result, (the government has) to be careful on how it’s all plotted out and timed out.

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“This is a massive project. I think the most aggressive timeline is probably three years.”

Musyj said the pandemic “identified the acute care bed capacity in the province of Ontario is staggeringly low.”

As an example, he said Ontario has 40 per cent more residents than Michigan but 40 per cent less critical care beds.

“So when you talk about our ability to avoid closures, a lot of it has to do with the capacity in the system.”

He couldn’t give a clear number on what the acute care and critical care capacity will be in the new hospital but he said there are plans that allow for future expansion as needed.

“So in a sense, coming out of COVID or on the other end of COVID, it’s a pretty exciting time to be one of the first hospitals being designed during that to take into account what we learned during COVID.”

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