St. Joseph’s Hospital redesigns with green in mind

In London Ontario St. Joseph’s Hospital is taking it to the next level by thinking green in its final phase of redevelopment, part of a greater initiative set out in 1997 to integrate London’s hospital system and build on St. Joseph’s leading teaching hospital and specialized acute care clinics and programs.

Green and innovative initiatives will be taken into account for the 70,000 square-feet of renovations to one quadrant of the hospital and a 65,000 square-foot addition that will replace an existing one at the corner of Richmond and Grosvenor streets — opening up more green space on the lawn and adding a convenient and accessible drop off and lobby entrance for patients and family to connect to patient care programs.

The redesign of these two areas of the hospital will incorporate ways of being environmentally friendly, as part of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver — St. Joseph’s new mental health buildings are LEED Gold. By innovating, reusing and preserving historical elements of the hospital, St. Joseph’s will be fusing the old with the new when going green.

This renewal will allow St. Joseph’s to fully embrace its new role where day surgeries and specialized acute care clinics and programs have replaced traditional hospital stays. Renovations taking place inside the east building focus on creating a state-of-the-art facility, which will consolidate outpatient clinics and programs such as pulmonary function, cardiac rehabilitation, pain management, asthma, allergy, respirology, chronic obstructive lung disease and infectious diseases. These clinics and programs will enjoy brighter, barrier-free spaces that facilitate care, research and teaching.

“This next phase of transformation redefines what hospitals will be in the future,” says Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s. “One of four people live with diabetes, cardiac disease, lung disease or infectious disease. St. Joseph’s can help people live well given the best treatment and advice to help them manage their own health while focusing on preventing complications related to any of these conditions.”

Two outmoded wings at the front of the building facing Grosvenor will be taken down and replaced with a new façade providing a more convenient and accessible drop off with an accessible lobby area.

Inside the entranceway, “talking elevators” will take patients to their desired clinic or program improving upon connecting patients and family to care programs in that area, notes Dave Crockett, vice president, facilities planning at St. Joseph’s.

Outside, the original stone foundation of the building will encase a new “living wall” of green, which will preserve trees and the statue of St. Joseph. Patients, visitors, staff and the community will all be able to enjoy the healing garden, an oasis in downtown London.

“Part of the green-thinking is preserving the heritage of the building by using the old foundation as part of the new garden walls,” says Crockett. Next door to this area is the Chapel, built in 1915, which will also be preserved during the renovations. Additional items that will be preserved and included in the new facilities are some of St. Joseph’s historical artifacts such as a stained glass window, terrazzo tile and a rare species of Magnolia tree to London, the Cucumber Magnolia Tree.

The last phase of renovations will have a tremendous impact on the people who work and visit the hospital from an environmental point of view, as well as greatly improving the energy efficiency of the building.