MONTREAL -- The long-awaited expansion of the Verdun Hospital has received the green light from the Quebec government.

The $264.9-million project will increase the number of single-bed rooms from 24 to 144 while maintaining the existing 244 beds in total.

The previous Liberal and PQ governments invested heavily in the mega hospitals, which grouped together many older institutions in new facilities. But Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said today the CAQ government is taking care of needed upgrades at smaller hospitals that weren't included in the mega hospital boom.

"The old hospitals need a total revamp," Dube said. "You'll see in the next few months many announcements of this type. We did the same thing at the Lakeshore (General Hospital) a few months ago. We are (also) looked at St-Jerome (and) St-Eustache," said Dube.

Verdun Hospital's new single-bed rooms and some shared rooms will be located in a new five-storey pavilion to be located on four adjacent lots which are currently being purchased.

Construction on the expansion will begin next year with completion expected in 2025.

In a separate $32-milion project, a new modular two-storey building is also being built to house the hospital's hematology-oncology clinic as well as 36 individual rooms with toilets. They are expected to be ready as soon as this winter as a temporary measure until the new building is completed.