New Runnymede leads the way in specialized care and innovative design


Patient care, innovation and modern technology to facilitate the provision of specialized complex continuing care, were top of mind when considering the design of the new Runnymede Healthcare Centre, which stands elegantly on the corner of a quiet west Toronto neighborhood.

Walking through the doors of the new hospital Anthony Galea is thrilled by what he sees…a comfortable waiting area, warm fireplace and spacious foyer with natural light streaming in.

“It’s so much better than the old building,” says the North Toronto resident, whose wife is a patient at Runnymede Healthcare Centre. “I visit my wife twice a day and I know she is much more comfortable here than in the old building, I can tell she likes it.”

Still, beyond the pleasing esthetics, the hospital board and senior management team worked diligently alongside Infrastructure Ontario, Stantec Architects and Bondfield Construction to ensure that the new building design was technologically advanced and energy efficient. Enabling leading edge practices, expanding capacity to meet a greater range of patient needs and enhancing the quality of life for every patient that comes through the doors, were the end goals that have now been realized.

“This building is an architectural success and an incredible transformation from our old hospital, housed in an antiquated 1908 converted schoolhouse,” says President and Chief Executive Officer Connie Dejak. “The new building was designed with energy efficiency and innovation in mind to position us to take a leadership role in providing the specialized complex continuing care that our patients require. Now we are fully equipped, charged and ready to respond effectively and efficiently to the health-care needs of our community while working with our health-care partners to deliver leading programs and services.”

The new 200 bed, four storey facility, which was officially opened by the Hon. Deborah Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in December 2010 was completed, two months ahead of schedule and on budget. During the grand opening Minister Matthews announced an additional $8 million in funding to open 57 new beds in the hospital and further expand their capacity.

In the new facility, innovation in design is illustrated by the incorporation of a building automation system or BAS; a distributed control system that optimizes the start-up performance of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and alarm systems. The BAS allows for lower energy use, improved comfort and offsite control of the system.

Another innovative aspect of the design is demonstrated by the figure eight layout, which has allowed for the construction of two three-storey interior courtyards. This design also provides all patient rooms with natural light and enables its exploitation to the full benefit of the hospital.

“Ensuring our hospital is committed to efficient health-care practices and an environmentally responsible approach to delivering care is a priority for us,” says Corinne Wong, Chief Operating Officer. The design of our new facility has promoted certain green initiatives and allowed us to think about best practices that we can implement to remain efficient.”

Long term considerations for the design team included how to sustain innovation and efficiency for Runnymede Healthcare Centre. To that end, the new building provides space for the expansion of medical programs and services. These enhancements will support the expansion of programs which are currently offered, without compromising patient care or comfort.

Finally 2011 will see the opening of independently operated dentistry and chiropody clinics within the new hospital. These clinics will provide services to patients as well as the broader community, making certain that Runnymede Healthcare Centre continues to lead the way in specialized complex continuing care.

And for Anthony Galea that is what matters most. “My wife is 100 per cent more comfortable here,” he says. “And that makes me happy.”