Aspen Ambulance building design to be unveiled today
Pitkin County officials will present the final design for the new Aspen Ambulance District building at an open house tonight at the county’s Health and Human Services Building.
The design for the new building — to be constructed atop a 14-spot parking lot next to the HHS building at 405 Castle Creek Road — has gone through several changes since architects presented it to the public for feedback this fall, said Rich Englehart, the county’s chief operating officer.
Architects took into account concerns about, for example, lighting and noise and relocated HVAC utilities to a part of the building furthest from neighbors, he said. The height of the building was lowered in keeping with neighborhood concerns.
Pitkin County commissioners also chimed in on the design, asking for it to be less institutional-looking and for heavy, outdoor window shades or louvers to be eliminated.
In addition, steps that provide access to the nearby nordic trail will be included, Englehart said.
The final design, approved by commissioners late last year, incorporates all of those changes, he said.
“Hopefully the neighborhood is going to be pleased,” Englehart said.
Public comment, however, will not be taken during this evening’s open house, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
The approximately 12,000-square-foot building — located across from Aspen Valley Hospital — will replace a 25-year-old, 2,800-square-foot facility located nearby that has become too small to house larger, modern ambulances. The budget for the building has grown from $6 million initially to about $7.4 million because of increased utility placement costs, Englehart said.
The building will feature a much larger ambulance bay, as well as more bunkroom space for crews, a conference room and a fitness space. The building will be paid for using funds generated from an ambulance district property tax passed by county voters in 2014.
The county has hired a general contractor for the project and hopes to break ground this spring, Englehart said. Construction should take between nine months and a year, he said.
The county already has submitted an application to the city of Aspen for approval of the project, Englehart said. The project was submitted under a state law governing development of public buildings that allows the city to comment and suggest changes to the building. However, those suggestions do not have to be accepted by county commissioners if a supermajority of board members votes to override them.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”