Over the last six-plus years, plans — and hopes — for a new and improved Healthy Living campus have certainly been put to the test.
A zoning change, suggestions for less cement and more green space, lighting up Wiard Street and rethinking an entry/exit from Summit Street, plus the constant push to raise money for the $33.5 million project may have given pause but never a fullstop since 2016.
Officials and community members celebrated Monday what United Memorial Medical Center CEO Dan Ireland described as making “this vision a reality.”
Ireland and about 100 others gathered at 213 East Main St., Batavia, one of the parcels between Main and Bank Street that will be the future 78,000-square-foot facility.
“This is a pivotal and historic day in our community’s health and wellness journey,” Ireland said. “We are breaking ground on an innovative, forward-thinking model of integrated health and wellness that will transform downtown Batavia. From a healthcare perspective, this facility and model of care that it represents will exemplify how healthcare can evolve to support the healthcare needs of the community today and for the next generations.”
“The Healthy Living Campus is the future of health care, where medical and wellness programs are integrated under one roof. It’s made possible through our community partnerships, and it’s helping patients get all the care they need and deserve in one place.
He recalled the high level of effort it has taken during the past nearly seven years of planning, collaboration and diligent work to reach this point. He credited Rochester Regional Health’s staff teams, community partners, GLOW YMCA and “most importantly you” for arriving at the day shovels were symbolically plunged into the earth.
Not only was the event about a new facility, but also about an “innovative and integrated” system of what and how care is delivered. Meal planning, building healthy habits, assessing mental and physical health, and taking preventive measures for well-being are just some of the services to be offered.
Add in state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a new pool, an indoor track, a teaching kitchen, and an adventure room play area for children.
Top it off with 22 exam rooms and two medical procedure rooms for primary care, telemedicine appointments, behavioral health and crisis intervention support, cancer prevention, chronic illness, and community education services, and the site is a one-stop-shop for many health concerns and fitness goals, officials said. There will also be a drop-in childcare center.
“Today is not just a celebration of a new building or clinic, it’s the celebration of a community coming together to reimagine health and wellness of the future and transform our downtown," Ireland said. "It’s celebrating you and your friends and neighbors who have worked tirelessly over seven years to advocate, plan and collaborate to make this vision a reality. Without your voices, your ideas, your support, we would not be here today at this milestone. We are embarking on this exciting new chapter of health and wellness in Downtown Batavia.”
The project’s birth was a few city managers ago, when talk of an expanded Healthy Living campus at times seemed pie-in-the-sky for some. Seeing it finally come to fruition is “a big load off our minds,” City Council President Eugene Jankowski said.
“I’m excited to see this project begin,” he said. “There were a lot of setbacks, and it’s really easy to call it quits.”
He thanked all involved for remaining steadfast on the journey and “moving forward to positive outcomes” in the city’s future.
Robert Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA, remembered picking up the phone back then and becoming engaged in the concept. Almost seven years later, this plan “has truly changed the path of both organizations,” he said.
“Your leadership and support have impacted me tremendously,” he said.
He cited the YMCA’s mission statement: To develop the spiritual, mental, and physical wellness of all people in an atmosphere of Christian fellowship and thanked individual and collective community members for their determination to come together, strive for improvement, and see this project through.
“The GLOW YMCA and Rochester Regional Health Healthy Living Campus is a place for children, adults, and families from all walks of life in our community to come together and improve their lives — spirit, mind and body,” Walker said. “The state-of-the-art campus will not only be a benefit for the health of our residents, but also for the health of our local businesses, transforming downtown Batavia.”
Perhaps equally notable to the support for the project is the timing now, in the midst of a post-pandemic, RRH CEO Dr. Richard Davis said.
We’re all about reimagining what healthcare can and must be in the 21st Century, we’re focusing on those strategic themes and talents of literally 20,000 of our team members … delivering the right care, in the right place, at the right time, to achieve the right health outcomes for the right value,” he said. “Healthy Living is a shining example of what truly is an innovative model.”
The strengths of two organizations — RRH and YMCA — are being brought together to offer the best of each one alone as an essential service to the city of Batavia, he said.
Officials also included Rob Rodriguez, NYS secretary of state, Senator Edward Rath III, Tom Houseknecht, on behalf of him and his wife Lynn, and Paul Battaglia, chairman of the YMCA Campaign Committee.
“I know when we started this quest in 2016 … many people thought this was an impossible dream. Now … this dream is coming true,” Battaglia said. “Today we’re not just celebrating the groundbreaking of a building, but celebrating the health of our community. This is a transformational project that is going to completely change the downtown area. It’s going to bring people downtown, create excitement and vitality that we believe will have a significant domino effect on the local businesses there. We could not be prouder of this relationship.”
The Healthy Living project was made possible with state, federal and community fundraiser monies, including an NYS economic development health care grant of $11.6 million, a $4.1 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, and ongoing fundraising efforts by more than 50 GLOW YMCA and RRH volunteers.
Officials expect construction to be completed in 2023.
Top photo: Officials take shovels in hand for the symbolic gesture during the Healthy Living campus groundbreaking ceremony Monday at 16 Bank St., Batavia. United Memorial Medical Center CEO Dan Ireland, Rob Walker, CEO of GLOW YMCA and Rochester Regional Health CEO Dr. Richard Davis say a few words during the event. Photos by Howard Owens. Renderings of the project provided by RRH.