Aspen Valley Hospital’s next project priced at $48.8 million |

Aspen Valley Hospital’s next project priced at $48.8 million

The east entrance of Aspen Valley Hospital was part of an earlier expansion and remodeling project at the medical facility. The third phase of construction is set to begin April 20.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

The next phase of development for Aspen Valley Hospital has a price tag of $48.8 million, with construction on approximately 62,000 square feet of new space set to begin April 20, according to the facility’s chief financial officer.

The hospital has secured building permits for the third phase of construction, which will include roughly 33,000 square feet for such medical services as a new emergency department, a surgery suite and diagnostic imaging; 10,000 square feet for medical office space and 19,000 square feet in basement space for storage and mechanical purposes.

Now, it’s the responsibility of the hospital’s fundraising arm to attract the cash to see the project through to completion. As it stands, the hospital has about $21 million in donations earmarked for the project. Chief Financial Officer Terry Collins said if not another cent were raised, the hospital would dip into its own coffers, but he’s not anticipating that. The Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation is on an aggressive fundraising mission to bring in $60 million by the end of 2016 for the facility’s expansion. That campaign began in 2013.

“If you take in the $21 million (in donations), that leaves $39 million over the next few years,” Collins said. “Realistically, we think that money will come in over the next few years.”

Like any construction project, the hospital could see cost overruns. An extreme example is occurring on the Front Range, where the construction cost of a new Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora shot from $328 million to $1.73 billion, Denver media outlets reported last month.

Collins said the third phase of construction, set for the southwest corner of the hospital building, will meet cost projections.

“We’re not going to have budget overages,” he said. “I’m not going to let that happen.”

Collins said unexpected costs arise when infrastructure work takes place. But the second phase saw most of the deep digging, while the upcoming construction won’t entail that.

“Phase III is much less risky because we did all of the infrastructure, all of the deep digging on Phase II,” he said. “The risk now of finding some big surprises in Phase III is minimal.”

Once again, the hospital has hired Centennial-based Haselden Construction as the general contractor. Haselden completed work on earlier hospital-expansion projects that included the Aspen Birth Center, the Evelyn H. Lauder Patient Care Pavilion and other improvements. Collins said he expects the deal to be formalized in the coming days.

“They did all of Phase II, and frankly, their job performance has been outstanding,” Collins said.

Atlanta-headquartered Heery International is the architectural firm handling the third phase, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

“There will be evidence of construction, obviously,” Collins said. “But there won’t be any disruptions of the services.”

Collins said the preliminary start date for Phase IV, the final phase of the expansion, is mid-2017.

The hospital will hold a town hall-style meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Limelight Hotel, where board members and hospital and foundation executives will update the public on the facility’s expansion.

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