Ground officially broken for new Family Health Team building

By Ron Giofu

 

A long-awaited health care project is coming closer to fruition.

The official groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday afternoon at the site of where the new $2.5-million building that will house the Amherstburg Family Health Team (AFHT) will be located. The building is being created by Malden Properties Inc. (Amico Group) and it will be a new 10,095-square foot-building on 3.25 acres of the site with the AFHT occupying roughly 6,500-square-feet of that.

Dr. Tim O’Callahan, lead physician with the AFHT, said it was a great day for health care in Amherstburg. He noted the AFHT, comprised of three physicians, two nurses, a nurse practitioner and other health professionals, are operating within a space of roughly 1,800 square feet within the Seasons Amherstburg building. Once they get their own building on the retirement home’s property, he believes it will allow for better delivery of health care, better patient access and the ability to offer new programming.

More health care professionals may even be attracted to the facility, he noted, adding that potential patients will also become more aware of the AFHT’s location.

“People drive by and think it’s simply a retirement home,” he said. “(The new building) should improve patient knowledge of the facility. It should

increase patient numbers that way.”

O’Callahan credited past and present members of the board of directors, the Ontario Ministry of Health, their various partners including the town of Amherstburg and their contractor Amico.

The AFHT aims to be in its new location in September, O’Callahan added.   They moved into the Seasons Amherstburg building in late 2007.

Just because they will be getting a larger space doesn’t mean they still won’t strive for anything bigger, indicated one of their board members. Carolyn Davies, who is also a town councillor and nurse practitioner, said they would eventually like to have even more space.

“We’re dreaming for a larger space again,” said Davies.

 

Physicians, nurses, staff, board members and dignitaries gathered at the site  where the new Amherstburg Family Health Team building will be constructed. Plans call for the $2.5-million building to be complete in September with the Family Health Team to occupy roughly 6,500-square-feet of it.

Physicians, nurses, staff, board members and dignitaries gathered at the site where the new Amherstburg Family Health Team building will be constructed. Plans call for the $2.5-million building to be complete in September with the Family Health Team to occupy roughly 6,500-square-feet of it.

Ann Robson, executive director of the AFHT, said it was “a joyous occasion for us who have been personally involved in conceptualizing and shaping this project.”   With the completion of the design and development phase, the AFHT can bid farewell to their cramped quarters and look forward to their new building and expanded facility.

“We are celebrating among friends, friends who share our vision and aspiration for this town and friends who recognize the unique role that Family Health Teams play in primary health care today,” said Robson.

The building is also expected to house a pharmacy and have other space available for health-related businesses.

Mayor Wayne Hurst said he was pleased to be at the groundbreaking ceremony and noted it occurred because of people working in the same direction.

“It’s been a lot of hard work by several individuals who came together and wanted to make this a reality,” said Hurst.

Hurst added he expects the new building to have an increased level of service for local residents. He said residents not only expect it “but they really deserve it.”

The building that will house the AFHT is planned as the first of two phases, with the second being a proposed 12,000-square-foot building next to the first phase. The timing of when that building would be built is based on demand and would also see the relocation of the existing driveway into the Seasons facility. The driveway will stay where it is until the second phase is added.

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