Milton District Hospital Expansion ProjectBy Anna Guy

The day we spoke with Bill Bailey, vice president of redevelopment for Halton Healthcare, he had just finished touring a delegation from New Brunswick around the newly expanded Milton District Hospital, in Milton, ON.

In what could be a case-study in design-build acumen, the project has received as many accolades from the North American health care industry as it has from the Milton community itself for being completed on time, on budget, and on target to the community’s needs: the holy trinity of construction.

Starting in 2015, and opening on October 1, 2017, the $512 million expansion added 333,000 square feet of space to an existing 1960s-vintage, 125,000-square-foot hospital. Highlights of the project include expanded emergency and surgical services, medical/surgical inpatient units, critical care, diagnostic imaging (including a new MRI machine), and support services, and LEED® Gold certification.

Overall capacity of the hospital increased from 63 to 129 inpatient beds, with 80 per cent single-patient rooms for improved infection prevention and control, and to provide increased patient privacy and a quieter healing environment. Finally, as the fastest growing community in Canada, the new, Level 2A Special Care Nursery with capacity for eight bassinettes in the Maternal Newborn Unit will be well used.

“The partnership that came together to build the expansion at Milton District Hospital has set a new standard for hospital construction and design in Ontario,” explains Bill Bailey, Vice President of Redevelopment, Halton Healthcare. “Not only was construction completed on-time and on-budget, construction deficiencies that remained after substantial completion were addressed quickly, enabling the project to reach final completion within seven months of substantial completion. This is an incredible achievement.”

The importance of “good, strong partnerships” with PCL Construction and Plenary Group cannot be underestimated, says Bailey.

Beyond the construction phase, the project is also raising eyebrows for the “quality of interior space, healing environment, and attention to detail,” says Bailey. “The interest from other organizations across North American and Europe has been remarkable. We have toured groups from our region and as far away as Norway in an effort to share information and best practices with colleagues who are undertaking projects of their own.”

A patient-centric philosophy was implemented at all stages of design. “Throughout the project, we worked closely with the municipality of Milton, because this hospital must fit the growing needs of a rapidly expanding community,” says Bailey. In order to further integrate the community into the design of the hospital, the Fine Arts Society of Milton (FASM) was engaged in aspects of the hospital’s interior.

The result is a 33-foot mural by local artist Tina Newlove featuring the Milton escarpment and its various landmarks in all four seasons that hangs in the hospital’s new Main Lobby.

The Milton Hospital Expansion Project comes on the heels of the completion of the new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in neighbouring community of Oakville, also led by Bailey. Bailey’s career began in civil services, and he played an instrumental role in helping the province deal with the Double Cohort pneumonia in 2003, in which an unusually high proportion of students graduated from high school in Ontario. Bailey then moved to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, working on two pilot P3 projects. “This gave me a wealth of understanding of the AFP approach to building procurement (which was used in both the Oakville and Milton hospitals).”

Born and raised in Oakville, it has been personally rewarding for Bailey to see the community benefit from the work of his team. “Halton Healthcare has a strong redevelopment team with individuals who bring knowledge from multiple sectors which greatly informed our planning. It is extremely rewarding to see the reaction from people when they first encounter the new facilities and knowing that so many people will benefit from improved and expanded hospitals, for many years to come.”