This is the year Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo gradually moves its services from its longtime Bryant Street home into several floors of the Conventus Building on Main Street. Phase One got underway Tuesday with the opening of seven outpatient clinics at the new address.
The neurology and dermatology clinics represent the first of a total 26 outpatient centers that will be transferred from Bryant Street in the coming months.
"In April, the fourth and fifth floors, which have another 10 or 11 ambulatory centers within them, will open up here in the Conventus Building," said hospital president Allegra Jaros. "Then in October the rest of our ambulatory service centers will relocate here. And then November, the Oishei Children's Hospital opens."
Although a hard date has not been set, hospital officials anticipate moving inpatient services to Main Street some time in November. It will be, Jaros pointed out, a complicated move of equipment and patients.
"We'll have three teams, one team at the old hospital and one team at the new hospital, and then our transport team which goes out and transports our critically ill children every day, and moms," Jaros said. "They will be the connector, getting us back and forth between the two sites."
Among those bringing a child to the new Main Street centers was Tara Anderson. Her son Ryan was scheduled for a neurology appointment. She enjoyed the bright, pastel colors in the halls and offices, most of which were still unoccupied. She also spoke of improved access as compared to Bryant Street.
"It's more convenient of a destination getting here, because we can easily hop on the bus, from where we live, to the train station and just walk up the street," she said.
Anderson admits, though, she'll miss the Bryant Street facility. So, too, will hospital staff.
"It is bittersweet for us," Jaros said. "2017 is the 125th anniversary of Children's Hospital on the Bryant Street campus. It started off as just a 12-bed unit. We're excited to have this new space for our patients and families."
Among the future firsts that excite hospital officials is the first birth inside the Main Street hospital. Jaros said that in the near future, officials will announce a suggested "conception date" for parents who may want to be part of history, either being among the first to welcome a baby in the new hospital or be among the last at Bryant Street.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul got a tour of the Oishei Children's Hospital on its first day.
"It's going to be a cornerstone of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus," Hochul said. "We're going to have over 17,000 people working here before very long. We'll have over 1,500 employees at this facility, 183 beds, over 400,000 square feet and incredible integration of services for people seeking outpatient services."