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Kaleida Health seeks permission for helipad at new Children’s Hospital

Kaleida Health is seeking permission from the state to build a $1.1 million helipad on the roof of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital now under construction on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The hospital system has applied for a certificate of need from the state Health Department for the helipad. The City of Buffalo Planning Board has approved the project, Kaleida Health said in a statement Tuesday. In addition to the Health Department, the Buffalo Common Council, the Federal Aviation Administration and the state Department of Transportation’s Aviation Services Bureau also must sign off on the helipad.

Kaleida Health last October announced that a donation from Sal H. Alfiero, the founder and former chairman of Mark IV Industries, and his family would cover the cost of the helipad at the new Children’s Hospital.

Alfiero also donated $735,000 toward the construction of the helipad on the current Children’s Hospital on Bryant Street. That pad opened in late 2005, but only after four years of contentious debate and an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by neighborhood critics of the project.

Work crews broke ground for the Medical Campus Children’s Hospital in October. The 410,000-square-foot, $270 million hospital is set to open in late 2017.

The Children’s Hospital helipad, if approved, would join the helipad at Buffalo General Medical Center that opened in February 2012.

“Having a helipad is vital to our mission of providing the best possible care for critically sick and injured patients throughout Western New York and beyond,” Allegra Jaros, president of Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, said in a statement. “Much like it does now for the hospital on Bryant Street, the new helipad will save lives. It allows our pediatric and neonatal transport teams to dramatically improve access and time for their patients, who need specialized pediatric and neonatal critical care.”