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

Kaleida Health is seeking permission 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 applied for a certificate of need from the state Health Department, arguing the rooftop landing pad “is vital to maintain our ability to rapidly evaluate and treat the region’s critical infants, children and mothers,” according to its filing .

The 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 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 new helipad.

An Alfiero donation also paid for the $735,000 helipad at the current Children’s Hospital, on Bryant Street, that serves more than 150 helicopter flights annually.

That pad opened in late 2005, after a decade of contentious debate and an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by neighborhood critics. Before that helipad opened, critically injured patients from far-flung locations were flown to Erie County Medical Center and then taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital.

The 410,000-square-foot, $270 million new Children’s is set to open in late 2017.

The helipad, if approved, would join the pad at Buffalo General Medical Center that opened in 2012. Approval for that landing pad came after a test flight convinced nearby residents that it wouldn’t generate an unbearable amount of noise.

The new Children’s Hospital helipad would be open for use 24-7, but permission and notice must be given for each flight, according to the Health Department application.

email: swatson@buffnews.com