McMaster shows off its new $84M downtown health campus

The David Braley Health Sciences Centre was unveiled in downtown Hamilton after 11 years of planning and building.

New school and medical centre features waterfalls, gardens, patios and a sun roof

The David Braley Health Sciences Centre was unveiled in downtown Hamilton Friday after 11 years of planning and building. 

Dubbed "Canada's first co-location of public health services and academic primary care" by Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris, the $84.6 million centre opened its doors for viewing. The 192,000-square-foot building's showing housed hundreds of people sitting on large wooden steps and standing on ledges behind an artificial waterfall. 

Among those hundreds were the building's namesake, Hamilton businessman and philanthropist David Braley, owner of the Toronto Argonauts and B.C. Lions. Alongside Braley was McMaster president Patrick Deane, and professor David Price. All three emphasized the importance of the centre's new approach the medicine, and its future influence on the community and Hamilton. 

But getting to today's grand unveiling, Price added, was not easy.

"We were here in this building 48 hours ago with cranes and workmen and scaffolds and platforms," said Price.  "And I came in this morning and I'm like 'Where'd it all go? What happened?'"

Free of construction, the building is a blend of classrooms and doctor offices, separated by just a staircase. Eleven classrooms on the second floor and 48 exam rooms on the third will accommodate the anticipated 550 staff members moving in this year.  By combining the building's staff with the medical students, Price and others hope for a cross-pollination effect where scholars are placed in a more authentic environment and receive a more authentic learning experience. 

In addition to learning experiences, the event touted aesthetics, highlighted by a lecture hall's large glass backdrop overlooking city hall.  Mayor Fred Eisenberger said the building's integration with the rest of the downtown is important for the future health of Hamiltonians.

"We have an area of our city that is in such critical need in terms of healthcare, this will help facilitate additional care for so many in our community that aren't getting the care they need," said Eisenberger.  "The disparity between Ancaster and our north end in life expectancy is reason enough to actually pay attention and create a facility that will address those various areas of concern."