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Helipad at John R. Oishei Children's Hospital complete

Contractors have completed a $1.1 million helipad on the top of the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital under construction on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

The Oishei Children's Hospital helipad is just a short distance from a helipad atop Buffalo General Medical Center that opened in 2012.

The final step is to connect mandatory fire suppression and protection, which is expected this summer. Once that is complete, the New York State Department of Health and Federal Aviation Administration will sign off with final inspection, said Michael P. Hughes, Kaleida Health's senior vice president of public affairs & marketing

Each helipad is expected to generate a couple of hundred flights each year from Mercy Flight and Chautauqua County-based Starflight.

Once the hospital opens in November, the helipad would be open for use 24 hours a day, but permission and notice must be given for each flight, according to the state Health Department application.

[Related: See construction of the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital through the lens of Photographer Robert Kirkham]

Kaleida Health announced in the fall of 2014 that a donation from Sal H. Alfiero and his family would help pay for the installation of the helipad at the new pediatric hospital on the medical campus. Alfiero founded and formerly served as chairman of Mark IV Industries.

The helipad at the current pediatric hospital site, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, serves more than 150 helicopter flights annually. That pad opened in late 2005, after a decade of contentious debate and an unsuccessful lawsuit. Before that helipad opened, critically injured patients were flown to Erie County Medical Center and then taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital.

The new $270 million Oishei Children's Hospital at Ellicott and High streets is scheduled to open in November. The hospital has already moved seven clinics into the adjoining Oishei Children’s Outpatient Center.

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