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Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research

August 1, 2007
by root
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Photography by Willy McElligott

The new Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research opened on October 27, 2006. The new facility is dynamic, modern, and innovative, designed to inspire new ideas and treatments for people with mental illness.
The new Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and its affiliated research institute were developed as a private-public partnership, known as an alternative financing procurement, which ensures the public delivery of healthcare in a facility designed, built, financed, and maintained to exact specifications set by the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (ROHCG). The Healthcare Infrastructure Company of Canada, the partner in the arrangement, will maintain the new facility for the next 20 years. One of the contractual obligations requires that the facility remain in “as-new” condition at the end of the 20-year partnership.

The complete redevelopment of the hospital and research institute provided the opportunity for the application of a wireless information technology system throughout the entire facility. The benefit of the new IT system, the first of its kind to be used in Canada, is significant efficiency in healthcare delivery at bedside and throughout the ROHCG.
A dramatic departure from the old Royal Ottawa Hospital, the new 400,000-square-foot facility accommodates 188 inpatient beds as well as a wide-range of research, education, and outpatient services. Nine two-story inpatient care units wrap around open-air gardens to provide access to safe outdoor environments. A seven-story tower houses the ROHCG's research, education, and administrative services. Outpatient and outreach services are in close proximity, providing greater public access.

The new facility is a calming and comforting environment infused with natural light, providing a therapeutic atmosphere for patients to heal. At the center of the facility is the dramatic Winter Garden, a large “open market” area with 108 skylights and a range of services, including a coffee shop, hair salon, and used clothing store, as well as comfortable seating for relaxing and socializing.
State-of-the-art design and materials were applied throughout. The project was completed six weeks ahead of schedule and within budget. During the peak construction period, 800 workers and tradesmen were employed on the site. The total cost for the new facility was $132 million (Canadian).

For more information, contact Joanna Filion, Manager of Communications and Public Affairs for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, at (613) 722-6521, ext. 6767, or