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Stevenson Memorial capital campaign continuing

April 9, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Stevenson Memorial has shifted focus from its capital campaign to COVID-19, but continues to raise money for renovations and improved infrastructure at the hospital.

Many renovations were in progress before the virus spread, some of which have been put on hold as healthcare workers respond to the outbreak.

Locally, $43 million has to be raised by the hospital’s foundation for redevelopment, health information systems, and critical annual needs, before the government approves the project and kicks in roughly $130 million.

“We’re lucky to have such a supportive community and…for all the people that continue to ask about redevelopment, even through this pandemic,” said Melody McLean, Campaign Manager for the Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF).

Ms. McLean said the redevelopment is much needed, specifically for the over 55-year-old emergency department that was initially built for 7,000 visits annually, but saw 37,000 last year.

The planned upgrades to Stevenson Memorial will also create a more sustainable future for the facility, as the population in its catchment area is expected to grow from 73,000 to 100,000 by 2031.

“The building’s outdated, it needs a lot of upgrades,” McLean said. “They offer great care and great quality of care, they have accreditation of the highest level… for the services that are offered but they’re working with old infrastructure.”

“It needs to be updated, as well as the size and capacity that the hospital can hold, based on the patient population that we’re now serving.”

To accommodate the growth in ER visits, the new emergency department will feature an expanded waiting area and 25 clinic rooms.

The re-development of the hospital will also increase the number of rooms in the Inpatient Care Unit and construct a new quiet room for the unit.

As well, the Surgical Services Department will more than double in size and there will be a much larger, newly outfitted Diagnostic Imaging Department.

Another upgrade to the hospital is an enhanced Birthing Unit with new labour and delivery rooms, reception, and family/waiting area.

“In addition to that, the parking will increase significantly around the hospital, which we know is a need that’s required now,” noted McLean.

She said other renovations will occur at the hospital as well, after the $43 million local share is raised by the community, without government assistance.

So far, 50 percent of the money needed for the capital campaign has been raised since it’s official launch last October, although it’s been in the works since 2017.

Most of the money that’s been raised has come from businesses, organizations, and individuals in the community.

When looking at the largest contributors to date, Simcoe County pledged $10 million, Honda pledged $4 million, and Nottawasaga Inn pledged $1 million.

Currently Honda is working with Stevenson Memorial to secure trailers for hospital staff to use in the parking lot, should that be needed, as COVID-19’s impact grows locally.

“A lot of hospitals in other areas have done that already,” noted McLean.

She lauded the community’s efforts to support the capital campaign, as a significant portion of the donations have come from individuals hosting third party fundraisers on behalf of Stevenson Memorial.

“Everybody has responded very positively,” McLean enthused.

However, the campaign may slow down as SMHF’s fundraising events, such as its annual gala, have been postponed due to COVID-19.

“Our focus right now is on the COVID-19 pandemic response and then once we get through that we’ll have more of a word, on fundraising campaign for re-development,” McLean explained.

She said the community has been fantastic providing support, and she looks forward to redirecting resources back to the campaign after the virus outbreak is contained.

Anyone looking to support the hospital can contact 705-220-0868 or to find out what’s needed.

Currently the hospital is requesting unopened ear loop masks (level 2 rating or higher), gowns (level 2 rating or higher), hand sanitizer (70% or higher) and nitrile gloves in all sizes (powder free).


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