University of Colorado Hospital to Build $400M Inpatient Tower

John Commins, May 27, 2010

The University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora will add a second tower at a cost of about $400 million, the university announced.

The new 720,000-square-foot tower will open in 2013, will be dedicated to inpatient and emergency care, will add 144 staffed inpatient beds to the hospital's current capacity of 407, and will include space to add another 144 beds to meet future demand.

"As the only academic medical center in the Rocky Mountains, our team of specialists and sub-specialists provide unique care for patients with complex healthcare needs," said Bruce Schroffel, president and CEO of University of Colorado Hospital. "Expanding the hospital will allow us to provide that care to more people in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain region.

About 660,000 square feet of the new tower will be new construction and 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 includes additional parking and better access to the rapidly expanding Anschutz Medical Campus.

Planning for the new tower was completed in January when an executive committee and 22 user groups met to ensure that the tower will meet the needs of the region's growing population.

"University of Colorado Hospital has been working near or above capacity since moving our inpatient facilities to the Anschutz Medical Campus in 2007," Schroffel said. "The demand for our services only promises to grow, and expanding the hospital will help us continue to serve a growing patient population."

Schroffel touted the economic stimulus that the project will bring to the area, including hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in material costs and tax revenue to Aurora 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," he said. "And we will be able to do this without any funding from the state or federal governments."

When finished, the tower will create another 1,400 jobs at UCH with an average annual salary of $81,000, including benefits. The project also will create 600-650 jobs during construction. An architect and general contractor have yet to be contracted.

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 will bring another 150 jobs to the Anschutz Medical Campus during its three-year implementation.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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