CFO ‘hopes’ Aspen hospital’s next expansion no more than $42 million |

CFO ‘hopes’ Aspen hospital’s next expansion no more than $42 million

The cost of Aspen Valley Hospital’s next phase of expansion is a looming question that won’t likely be answered until January, but when pressed to provide a figure at Monday’s monthly board of directors meeting, the hospital’s chief financial officer said his hope is between $40 million and $42 million.

CFO Terry Collins, responding to questioning by board member Dr. Barry Mink, said nothing is concrete when it comes to cost projections. And on Tuesday, he told The Aspen Times that the figure he provided to board members Monday is simply a “hope” and not an estimate.

“I don’t know if that number is close,” he said. But, Collins added, the $40 million to $42 million is what the hospital has readily available — half of which would come from donations, the other half from the hospital’s cash reserve.

The next segment of construction work — called Phase IIIA — is set to begin in the spring and be completed in 21/2 years. But first, the hospital must have its architect prepare construction documents before it solicits bids, Collins said.

“We won’t have those (construction documents) until early January,” Collins said Tuesday. “Although we are in the process of talking to contractors, they won’t do the bidding until the (documents) are available.”

Collins expressed confidence at Monday’s meeting that the hospital will have the funds in place, even if the cost surpasses the figures he hopes to see.

“We think IIIA is in pretty good shape,” he said. “Beyond that, it will depend on philanthropic efforts.”

Mink echoed that sentiment.

“Phase IIIA looks like it’s going to get done. The rest of it looks like how generous the donors are,” he said.

The Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation is the fundraising arm for the project.

Phase IIIA will include the construction of a new emergency room, space for diagnostic imaging, surgical services and other improvements.

None of the construction phases — the second of which will be completed before the new year — will disrupt the hospital’s services, Collins told the board.

“The way the phasing was done architecturally, each phase was planned to be a stand-alone complete unit,” he said, noting that if somehow funding dried up for the fourth phase, the hospital still would be able to function normally.

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