New tower rising to meet needs of children and educators

By 2013, medical specialists and students researching and attending childhood disease, will move into this new tower adjacent to Sick Kids Hospital. (SICKKIDS_TOWER_E)

For Dr. Fred Keeley, the future of improving his patients’ lives is almost here.

“There will be a lot of equipment in the area of cancer and cancer biology,” he said, “essentially understanding the genetics of cancer.”

Keeley is a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children. He’s anxiously awaiting the grand opening of the adjoining new research and learning tower. It will include new high-end equipment that will advance research in terminal diseases.

The Sick Kids Centre for Learning and Research, currently under construction at Bay and Elm streets, should be completed by 2013. The 21-storey building will bring together some of the world’s best researchers and scientists of paediatric health care, research and learning in Canada.

Keeley explained, in addition to paying for the construction of the tower, federal funding will finance the purchase of new equipment.

“A lot of new instrumentation is coming in, which is essentially part of the whole plan for constructing this new building and equipping it in a modern way,” he said

In addition to medical treatment, much of the tower will be fully equipped to conduct learning activities for medical students.

Dr. Jonathan Kronick, the chief of education at Sick Kids, said the new tower will provide space for classrooms and auditoriums, complete with audio, visual, Internet and the latest communication systems.

“There will be much more space available than is currently accessible at Sick Kids for learners and staff within the hospital to engage in various kinds of group learning activities like lectures, seminars, tutorials, working together (and) collaborating,” he said.

The creation of the new research and learning centre will also bring together 2,000 researchers and scientists who are currently spread out across five buildings in the city.

Dana Bronte-Tinkew, a post-doctoral research fellow, said future students will enjoy the benefit of working in a close-knit environment.

“(It’s) like a collaborative environment, where different resources can be pulled together … to get to the bottom of diseases,” she said.