May 31, 2006

St. Boniface General Hospital Opens Atrium, Announces First Hospital Based Art Gallery

St. Boniface General Hospital yesterday officially opened its new Atrium located at the main entrance to the hospital. The 76,000 square feet of new and renovated space covers two levels and houses quiet space for patients, staff, physicians and visitors; the Café Oasis, a 450 seat café operated by the Compass Group; the Hospital Auxiliary's enlarged Gift Shop; and a Shoppers Drug Mart. The lower level houses staff and physician services, health records and a new fitness facility. The redesign of the main entrance also allowed the hospital to realign access and widen the front loop, making it easier to drop off and pick up patients.

"One of our biggest challenges was how to fund the infrastructure costs for this space," says Tétreault. "We are pleased to have formed partnerships that allowed us to build this new space without using government funds. The innovative partnership we've entered into with private companies and the Hospital Auxiliary has provided the initial capital and will generate revenue to pay the mortgage."

The project also received the support of donors to the St. Boniface Hospital & Research Foundation. A generous donation by Frank and Jeanne Plett made the landscaping possible. The space surrounding the entrance has been named after their first granddaughter who currently lives in B.C., and will now be known as "Emily's Garden."

The St. Boniface Hospital & Research Foundation also announced a half million dollar donation by John and Bonnie Buhler for the development of an art gallery, a first for a Manitoba hospital. Thanks to this generous gift, the "Buhler Gallery" will open at the end of this year. The 2,000 square feet gallery will be located in the lobby of what was St. Boniface General Hospital's historic first entrance built in 1914. $200,000 dollars of the Buhler's donation has also been used to establish an endowment fund to assist with the gallery's associated program costs and maintenance.

The Atrium also showcases the St. Boniface Hospital & Research Foundation's new Commemorative wall, the work of George Shannon of On the Edge Glass Studio who donated much of his time, labour and materials to this project.

Started in June 2004, the hospital's Atrium project took approximately 15 months to complete at a cost of 13.4 million dollars. The main doors have been open since November 2005, with the retail operations and the Gift Shop opening in the months since.

"This project allowed us to consolidate several patient and staff services located throughout the building, and address the issues related to patient confidentiality at Admitting and in the main waiting room," says Tétreault. "We were able to respond to needs expressed by patients and visitors for pharmacy services and enhanced food services, expand the Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop, create quiet spaces for people and incorporate redesigned spaces for staff and the Foundation's new commemorative and interactive donor walls as well."

"Renovating the main entrance to make it more welcoming and accessible has long been a dream for St. Boniface," says Dr. Michel Tétreault, Hospital President and CEO.  "We believed there was an opportunity to create a new concept that would address a number of these challenges and we are very pleased to have realized our vision for St. Boniface General Hospital's entrance, while enhancing many services to patients, visitors, staff and physicians."

Related Links

St. Boniface General Hospital website

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