A rooftop garden deck with a stunning view of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains, floor to ceiling windows and private washrooms. Price tag: $82 million. Sounds like a real estate ad doesn’t it? Actually, it’s an accurate description for the new state-of the-art mental health and addictions centre which is rapidly taking shape on the Vancouver General Hospital site. The Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre is right on schedule to open for patients in late summer 2017.
The façade of the building is 75 per cent complete, drywall work is underway, and the major mechanical and electrical systems are in place. “The building is coming alive,” says Joyce Fung, Clinical Project manager for the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre. “Seeing the progression to a warm, home-like environment is really exciting.”
The eight story facility will consolidate inpatient and outpatient services under one roof to provide clients with the treatment, programs and skills they need to resume life in the community, safely and successfully. It will replace outdated facilities such as the former VGH Willow Chest Centre (circa 1948) and Health Centre (circa 1943). It will also be the new home for Vancouver Coastal Health’s Access and Assessment Centre which opened in April of this year. With 100 private rooms, each with their own ensuite washroom, the Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre will be one of the largest purpose-built facility of its kind in the province caring for people with mental health and substance use issues.
For artist Sandra MacKay, the new centre is a labour of love. “As part of the design team, I am honoured to be a consumer voice in the decision making. I was hospitalized while trying to cope with mental health issues so I know first hand how features such as light and colour can affect the recovery process. From the furnishings, to the drapery to the art, the patient is the focus. Our aim was to create safe, comfortable spaces with a harmonious, positive atmosphere,” says Sandra.
Volunteers will operate an “art cart” that will travel the building with a catalogue and paintings. Patients choose a piece of art to hang in their rooms. The artwork doubles as a method of engagement. “For example, a doctor might ask a patient why they chose a specific piece, what they see in it, and how they relate to it,” says MacKay.
The total capital cost of The Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre is $82 million. Thanks to $57 million in funding from the provincial government, a lead gift of $12 million from philanthropists Joseph and Rosalie Segal, and $13 million from the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation
, the Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre will open the doors to a new era of mental health care in 2017.