Planning team strives for perfection
It’s a task of mind-boggling complexity: meet with the clinical teams who are moving to the Glen Campus to find out what they will need at the new site – and then translate those needs into facilities and equipment. Meeting this immense challenge is the responsibility of the MUHC Planning Team.
The Glen Planning Team is divided into three sub-teams, explains Imma Franco, Associate Director of Planning for Programs and Services. One focuses on the engineering aspects of the project, while the second deals with municipal relations and issues such as zoning.
“The third team – ours – is responsible for everything that goes ‘inside the box’ at the Glen Campus, in other words for everything inside the new facilities,” says Franco. “Our team members hold graduate degrees in health administration, and some are architects. They all have an excellent understanding of hospital systems and how services are organized.
“We interact with members of the MUHC community to understand how they work and how they organize their activities. Then, we put together a document that describes what that service looks like. Out of this exercise comes a ‘recipe’ for the rooms and equipment required to make that service functional.”
As the Redevelopment Project moves forward, and the early phases near completion, the team’s work is also evolving. “Because we’re responsible for facilitating the process for the internal community, we are already beginning to think about the huge task of moving teams and equipment to the Glen,” says Franco.
While the Glen Campus is under construction, facilities planning at all current MUHC sites continues. Making sure clinical teams have the facilities they need to deliver the best care here and now, and at the Montreal General Hospital and Lachine campuses in the future, is the responsibility of Aldona Tusas, Associate Director of Organizational and Physical Programming and her six-person team of planners and architects.
“We are the bridge between present and future”
“We translate the needs of the clinical groups at existing adult sites into space plans and project scopes, and work with the project management teams responsible for the actual construction,” Tusas says. “We’re also, in a sense, the bridge between the present and the future. We’re responsible for ensuring our clinical services have the best possible working environments while the new campus is being built. We not only plan for the renovations, but are responsible for the modernization projects slotted for the Montreal General Hospital and Lachine sites which have the added complexity of serving patients 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Planning projects in existing buildings adds a level of complexity. One major constraint is the lack of available space. “This often results in what we call cascade projects, where accommodating construction for one user means finding alternate space for other users,” says Tusas. “Then, when space is freed up, we have to consider the impact of construction on the floors above and below. And, of course, we have to be sure that what we are doing fits in with the overall clinical plan.”
Creating a new hospital while maintaining and improving existing facilities requires skill, dedication and long hours of work – but despite daily challenges, morale is high. “We all know how important it is to make the vision a reality,” says Franco. “Everyone in our whole organization is putting their heart into making it happen.”