The bigger, the better to serve the community.

A conclusion by technical experts involved in the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) long-range planning exercise say the current facility needs to double in size to meet the healthcare needs of the rapidly growing Barrie area.

Launched over a year, the ongoing exercise includes planning for the redevelopment of the Georgian Drive health centre’s north campus, as well as a new south campus in Innisfil or south of Barrie.

“We know projections suggest the population of Barrie, Innisfil and Springwater will double by 2041 with over 170,000 new residents,” said RVH president and CEO Janice Skot. “To keep pace with the growth, another building needs to be added to the north campus.

“Most of that expansion needs to happen within the next five years.”

RVH has spent much time consulting with staff, physicians, patients, families and residents throughout the region over the last year. There have been more than 14,000 engagement opportunities to date.

The extensive consultation has guided architects to develop numerous options for redevelopment, including construction of a large, inpatient tower on the current 40-acre site. The survey is open until May 9 and can be accessed on the rvhplanourfuture.ca.website.

The Master Plan, which will be submitted to the government for consideration late this year, outlines how RVH’s north campus needs to expand in the future.

Work also continues to select a site for the south campus. The Site Selection Committee, using clear criteria, has narrowed its search to nine potential sites. That’s down from over 225 square-kilometres to 47 sites.

The local hospital is pursuing a graduated plan for the south campus, which includes an ambulatory care health hub within 10 years and a full-service, 500,000 square-foot hospital with an Emergency Department and inpatient beds in 20 years.

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