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Old Groves hospital building faces potential demolition in 2023

A press release from GMCH stated renovations to be able to meet current standards to operate as a healthcare facility are too costly
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Keegan Kozolanka/EloraFergusToday file photo

FERGUS – The former Groves Hospital building is likely to be torn down unless the Ministry of Health (MOH) directs otherwise, say hospital corporation officials. 

In a press release from Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH), CEO Angela Stanley said the old building at 235 Union St. E. in Fergus requires extensive renovations to meet current standards for any healthcare related service to operate. 

However, she also said this would be too costly and ministry funding to operate the building stops on March 31, 2023. 

“Demolition will need to take place shortly after the funding end date,” Stanley said in the release. “The next logical step is to tear down the building unless the MoH indicates otherwise.”

The new GMCH’s at Wellington Place opened on Aug. 9, 2020. 

The former site, referred to as Legacy Groves, has been used as a COVID assessment and vaccine centre as well as the site for a few filming productions. 

The Union Street land and a hospital was donated by Dr. Abraham Groves in 1932 to the former Town of Fergus. In 1955 a major new hospital was built and new wings were added in 1965 and 1980. 

Stanley said in a delegation to Centre Wellington’s committee of the whole Monday a conservative estimate on renovating the existing building is around $42 million. 

She said it would be too costly for them to undertake and there has been no indication from the MOH that they would invest into the existing building. 

Stanley explained to the committee the corporation is considering partnering on the site with a developer to make use of the land but again stressed redevelopment of the building seemed unlikely due to high costs.

A decision about the future use of the property still needs to be made, said Gilles Madore, GMCH board chair, in the release. 

“GMCH will continue to work with the MOH to explore potential future uses of the land to deliver medical services that will continue to benefit the community and the Groves Hospital corporation,” Madore said in the release. 

Members of the public are able to submit questions or feedback about Legacy Groves by emailing commsadmin@whca.ca.

Last September the Ministry of Health confirmed that Groves had submitted a proposal to repurpose the old hospital building into a complex continuing care – behavioural services facility.

At the time, former CEO Stephen Street said “no decision has been made to the repurposing of the Legacy Groves hospital site. We continue to have discussions with the Ministry of Health, hospital board and key stakeholders on the repurposing of the site.”