While most Western New Yorkers were still heading into work to start their day, members of the City of Buffalo's Planning Board hosted a public comment session regarding a plan to relocate Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo from Bryant Street into a new facility on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Only one speaker stepped forward, expressing concern for air traffic to and from the new hospital. It seemed a far cry from the public resistance a decade ago to plans then to move the hospital.
So, what has changed? An attorney from the legal firm representing Kaleida suggests a better job of proactive information and the public's recognition that the Bryant Street space is simply not adequate anymore.
"We were hoping for maybe a little bit more public comment but I think since Kalieda Health's done a very good job of going out and reaching out to the public ahead of time, and gauging their views, we've really been able to do that independent of the formal public process," said Marc Romanowski of Harter, Secrest and Emery.
Kaleida Health, which operates Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, is seeking to construct a new hospital at Ellicott and High Streets, right on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Romanowski spoke of the "synergies" Kalieda will realize at a new Women & Children's Hospital, including close proximity to other care centers including Buffalo General Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The new facility, he adds, will be smaller but more efficient than the existing Bryant Street space.
"The problem with being a facility that's been built since the early 1900s is that it's like Legos. It's not an efficient floor plate and it's been tacked one building on to another," Romanowski said. "By going here we now have a fresh building to start with and it can be much more efficient on a single purpose build designed building."
Kaleida does not have a plan at this time for reuse of the Bryant Street facility once the new hospital opens.
Romanowski told reporters in City Hall that Kaleida hopes to be ready to start construction in 2013, with an opening date "probably about towards the end of 2015."