AVH birth center coming to life
ASPEN Construction will begin this week at Aspen Valley Hospital on a new obstetrical department, known as a “birth center.”The new department, which will cost $6.4 million, is scheduled for completion in summer 2008, and is the first step in a broader plan to expand and update the entire hospital facility. Hospital officials will continue to work on other aspects of the broader expansion project, which is expected to take years to complete.Most of the money for the birth-center project, $5.8 million, is left over from a 2001 bond sale, which also has funded such other renovation projects as a new hospital pharmacy, an updated cardiology clinic, and improvements in medical records, radiology and the operating room, according to officials. The remaining $600,000 is coming from the hospital’s cash reserves.Hospital officials announced Friday that a groundbreaking ceremony for the birth center is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 26 at the hospital, and that the public is invited to witness the event and gobble up some free refreshments.”This is an exciting milestone in the planned improvements to AVH’s physical plant,” said Dave Ressler, Aspen Valley Hospital CEO, in a statement released Friday. “We have been working with our staff for a number of months to determine the needs of our patients and to design an environment that enhances the birthing experience. We really hope members of the community will help us celebrate.” The expanded birthing department is to include five single-occupancy labor, delivery and recovery rooms with therapeutic whirlpool tubs; four single-occupancy postpartum rooms; an antepartum room for patients being observed prior to active labor; a family waiting area; and a large centrally located nursery with an isolation area.”Colors selected for the interior design are reflective of new life,” the hospital’s statement declared.The expansion and renovation is necessary, according to the hospital’s statement, “due to a threefold increase in the number of births at Aspen Valley Hospital since it was built in 1977. In 1977, 112 babies were born; in 2006, 325 babies were delivered.”Construction will begin with a 5,800 square foot expansion adjacent to the current obstetrical unit on the north side of the building. After the expansion is complete, departmental functions will move into the new facility, and the existing unit will be renovated.”We have spent a great deal of time on the logistics of functioning in close proximity to a construction project,” said Cheryl Heffernan, nurse manager. “We will mitigate noise and inconvenience, and our contractor has assured us that we will have their full cooperation. We anticipate being able to continue to provide the highest quality of care for moms, newborns and families.”The site excavation work will require the removal of several trees, and “as many as possible will be relocated on the property,” according to AVH spokeswoman Ginny Dyche. The general contractor for the project is Weitz Construction, and HLM Design is the architectural firm. Both are Colorado companies and have “extensive experience in health care,” the hospital reported. DHM Design, a Carbondale company, is consulting on the landscape architecture.
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