AVH looks to the future with plan for expanded employee housing | AspenTimes.com

AVH looks to the future with plan for expanded employee housing

Janet Urquhart

The same day financially strapped Aspen Valley Hospital laid off 34 employees, hospital officials presented plans to construct additional housing for its work force.

The hospital outlined a proposal to expand its apartment complex at the former Beaumont Inn to the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Board on Wednesday.

The timing was ironic – 11 percent of the hospital’s work force was let go earlier in the day, presumably slashing the hospital’s need for housing.

AVH has no immediate plans to expand the Beaumont, according to John Schied, hospital operations director, but is looking to the future.

“This is a long-range plan,” he said. “Obviously, from a fiscal standpoint, we’re not prepared to engage in any multimillion-dollar projects.”

AVH purchased the Beaumont, a former lodge on Aspen’s east side, in 2000. Old lodge rooms have been converted into housing units. The expansion plan calls for the construction of another 25 rental units as needed when the hospital expands, for a total of 38 residences.

Demolition of the existing building closest to Highway 82 and a modular structure on the site are part of the plans.

The hospital has plans to expand at its current campus, though the AVH board of directors has also been looking at other sites where a new hospital could be built. The plans for the Beaumont will provide the housing that local government is expected to require as part of an expanded hospital, Schied said.

The housing board has recommended the hospital receive credit for the housing that already exists at the Beaumont – enough for the equivalent of 18 full-time employees.

With the proposed expansion, AVH should receive credit for the housing of 55.25 employees, the board concluded.

The City Council has the final say on the housing credits. The conceptual plans for the Beaumont are expected to go to Aspen’s Planning and Zoning Commission this summer, Schied said.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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