Tour the inside of the new Cornwall Community Hospital

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It even smells brand new.

The Cornwall Community Hospital, not unlike a Phoenix rising from the ashes, is remaking itself on McConnell Avenue into a state-of-the-art facility with new operating theatres that include ultra-modern amenities like full-range computer monitors, a new emergency department that affords patients greater privacy and hands-free/motion activated doors, sinks and the like to guard against passing infections.

Community stakeholders, hospital officials and even a few media wags were included in a recent tour of the new $113-million facility that, it is hoped, will be fully integrated into a single-site hospital by the middle of next year.

Everything, from the new window vistas that will greet patients when they walk through the doors, to the telephones at nursing stations, is brand new.

"The biggest thing is it brings everything into one site," said Alan Greig, the hospital's vice-president of support services and the tour guide on this day.

The new emergency-room alone should turn some heads. It's some 23,000 square feet and has been set up to accomodate 70,000 visits a year.

Dr. Michael Cox, the hospital chief of staff when the Cornwall General and Hotel Dieu Hospitals were merged years ago, got his first look at the new-look hospital "H-wing" on the tour and was duely impressed.

"It's a splendid project," he said. "It's going to comfort patients.

"And it's going to make the staff feel more comfortable."

Staff, and patients, have been grappling with what seems like a never-ending redevelopment project that began in 2009 with internal renovations that have now blossomed into a massive reconstruction endeavour measured in tens of thousands of square feet.

"We used to have 1950s technology," said Greig, referring to change rooms no bigger than a phone booth in the old facility that are being replaced with modern units that allow patients more comfort. "We've got so much more space."

But it didn't come cheap.

The $113-milion project, which includes an $82-million construction contract with Pomerleau Inc., was mostly funded by the Ministry of Health - up to 90 per cent.

But that only covers "bricks and mortar," said Greig, adding some $14 million in equipment is located at the hospital - and all that comes from community donations.

"Just the radiologist workstation is $40,000," said Greig.

The star of the show, though, would have to be the new MRI machine that has been built into the new hospital, as well as the digital urology table that is being installed right now.

A fundraising effort by the Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation recently completed a $3.5-million campaign to raise money for those two pieces of equipment.

Greig said the next phase of the redevelopment project is a big one: all emergency, surgical and diagnostic imaging work will be moved into the new facility beginning March 29. A team of hospital officials has just four weeks to get all the items moved, while still maintaining a seamless transition from a patient's perpsective.

"There will no break in care," said Greig. "It's going to be tight, but we're going to push hard.

"I've got a great team working with me on this."

We have posted a number of photos from the hospital in a slideshow on our homepage.

Organizations: Cornwall Community Hospital

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