Waldron Tower expands

The Quinte Thousand Island Lodge was used as a cancer patient hospice. After a review found the building isn’t suitable for patients, operations re-located.
The Quinte Thousand Island Lodge was used as a cancer patient hospice. After a review found the building isn’t suitable for patients, operations re-located.

Waldron Tower will have room for 48 more students come September, an addition to the 225 students already in the residence.

The space comes from Quinte Thousand Island Lodge, an external three-storey building that is attached to the east side of Waldron Tower.

Kingston General Hospital (KGH) has leased the building from Queen’s since 1974 and used it as the Cancer Centre’s Quinte Thousand Island Lodge.

The Lodge offered hostel-type accommodation; patients could stay in a room overnight for free and visitors could stay for $25 to $45 a night. Bruce Griffiths, director of housing and hospitality services at Queen’s, said the new residence rooms will be similar to those already in Waldron.

“Plans call for 48 students mostly in single rooms,” Griffiths told the Journal via email. “We are in progress with design and hope to begin renovations in March.”

The renovations are estimated at $2.5 million and will be taken out of the residence budget, Griffiths said.

Additional cleaning and residence life staff will be hired to work in the building.

Griffiths said the project will generate approximately $500,000 of revenue each year.

KGH didn’t renew their multi-year lease with Queen’s due to issues with building code and accessibility standards, as well as patient comfort, said KGH chief communications officer Helen Simeon. A one-time review that took place from fall 2010 to spring 2011 brought the problems to light.

“The Lodge was proven to not be suitable for patient accommodations,” Simeon said. “It would’ve been expensive to bring it up to the standards of safety and accommodation that was required.”

Some specific problems included a lack of wheelchair accessibility and shared washroom facilities, Simeon said.

No medical facilities were on site as the hostel was meant for overnight accommodations when receiving treatment at KGH.

Operations moved to Confederation Place Hotel on Oct. 31, 2011 where patients may stay in rooms for no cost. If a room is requested with enough space, visitors may stay in the room along with the patient.

“We cover their costs through the operating budget,” Simeon said. “We also pay for transportation back and forth to the hotel if they need it. Patients only need to pay for their food.”

Simeon said there was a decrease in the number of patients using the Lodge since 2006. She attributed this to the opening of other cancer centers in Ontario, including one in Oshawa.

Although the Lodge had approximately 35 rooms for patients, there were only five to eight patients staying at a time. In the winter, more patients would stay overnight due to bad driving conditions.

Simeon said the initial response to the move was positive.

“I believe people were quite happy to be in comfortable, private rooms that were conveniently located,” she said.

Confederation Place Hotel is about a three-minute drive from from KGH.

There were five staff working at the Lodge and through the KGH human resources department. Employees have either found alternate jobs at the hospital or have taken a compensation package.

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