NEWS

Bridgepoint rises from the Don Jail lands

[attach]5388[/attach]For more than 150 years a hospital has sat adjacent to the Don Valley, near the corner of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East. Now the site will be brought into the 21st century when the new Bridgepoint Hospital is completed next year.

The existing Bridgepoint Hospital is home to 470 beds and a host of outpatient services.

According to Marian Walsh, president and CEO of Bridgepoint Health, the new hospital, scheduled to open in April 2013, is designed to deal with one of the new challenges in the field of health care today, complex chronic disease, by employing specialists from several disciplines.

“The idea of Bridgepoint is that we will bring together and bridge and integrate health care service delivery for these people that have not one, but a variety of health problems.” Walsh said. “This is a whole new frontier. This is a new category of patient.”

Having designated the new facility to treat this modern type of patient is increasingly important, said Walsh, in part because of the financial demands they place on the health care system.

“What the research shows is that one percent of the population of Ontario uses 49 percent of all health care resources,” Walsh said.

The $627 million project will see the old Don Jail converted into the new hospital’s administration building. Inside, it will house both offices and research facilities while maintaining its historic exterior.

The old hospital building is slated to be torn down after equipment and services are moved into the new building.

The new Don Jail, which is currently in use, will also be demolished after construction is completed on a replacement facility in Mimico.

On Oct. 27, the hospital project held its topping-off ceremony to mark the fact the construction had reached its highest point.

Walsh, along with construction workers, hospital employees and members of the community, signed a white steel beam, which was placed at the top of the structure.

“Here in Riverdale, and one of the most prominent sites of the City of Toronto, there will be this brand new state of the art hospital that is the first of its kind in the country,” said Walsh. “It’s an unbelievable feeling of excitement and accomplishment and I think our whole community felt that.”