University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) has announced ambitious plans to add a second inpatient tower to meet what has grown into enormous demand for its services. At a cost of about $400 million, the project brings more patient beds, more emergency care and more jobs to the Anschutz Medical Campus and the state.
"As the only academic medical center in the Rocky Mountains, our team of specialists and sub-specialists provide unique care for patients with complex health care needs," said Bruce Schroffel, hospital president and CEO. "Expanding the hospital will allow us to provide that care to more people in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain region.
"University of Colorado Hospital has been working near or above capacity since moving our inpatient facilities to the Anschutz Medical Campus in 2007," Schroffel added. "The demand for our services only promises to grow, and expanding the hospital will help us continue to serve a growing patient population."
The expansion project will consist of a second building dedicated to inpatient and emergency care. The first inpatient building, the Anschutz Inpatient Pavilion, opened in 2004. UCH moved its remaining inpatient practices from its old site at Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Denver to the new Aurora campus in June 2007.
The newest building, slated to open in 2013, will immediately add 144 staffed inpatient beds to the hospital's current capacity of 407, and will include space to add another 120 to 144 beds to meet future demand.
The project will add 660,000 square feet of new construction, while another 60,000 square feet of existing space will be renovated. The new tower will include a much larger emergency department, more operating rooms and additional diagnostic and treatment facilities. The expansion also includes more parking and better access to the rapidly expanding Anschutz Medical Campus.
Planning for the new tower, which normally takes 12 to 18 months, was completed with unusual speed. It accelerated in January when an executive committee and 22 user groups began meeting to ensure that the new inpatient tower will meet the needs of the region's growing population.
The UCH expansion project brings an economic stimulus plan to the Anschutz Medical Campus and the region. The project will result in hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in material costs and tax revenue for Aurora, the metro area and the state.
"This is a multi-million-dollar project. And while UCH and its patients will benefit from the expansion, the entire state of Colorado also will see the positive effects. We also will be bringing over a thousand jobs to our community," Schroffel said. "And we will be able to do this without any funding from the state or federal governments."
When it is finished, the addition will mean another 1,400 jobs at the hospital with an average salary of $81,000 a year including benefits. The project also will create 600-650 jobs for those involved in the construction.
UCH also is in the midst of a $67 million project to implement an integrated, patient-centered electronic medical record across all clinical areas. That project ultimately will bring another 150 jobs to the Anschutz Medical Campus during its three-year implementation period.
Finally, a capital campaign is under way to raise $20 million for a much-needed expansion of the hospital's Anschutz Cancer Pavilion. The hospital's cancer services have seen a patient increase of nearly 100 percent since opening in 2001. The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer center in the region, and one of only 40 in the United States. UCH hopes to start construction on the cancer center expansion before the end of 2010.
"Patient outcomes at the University of Colorado Cancer Center are all significantly above state and national averages, and are another reason why demand for our services has grown so dramatically," Schroffel said.
Selection of the architect and general contractor is under way. The UCH board of directors approved the project last month.