Glenwood OKs Valley View Hospital expansion |

Glenwood OKs Valley View Hospital expansion

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Valley View Hospital received unanimous approval for its proposed expansion – which will include a regional cancer center – from Glenwood Springs City Council on Thursday.

This is the sixth and final phase of the hospital’s redevelopment, which began in 2000. This final expansion will include a 143,000-square-foot, five-story building and parking facility.

Valley View Hospital CEO Gary Brewer was pleased with the approval.

“It’s really great,” he said. “It’s great for the hospital, and it’s great for the community.”

Brewer said this final phase will be, as Councilman Stephen Bershenyi put it when the proposal was presented last October, the “crown jewel” of the hospital and the community. It will take the hospital into the future as a regional health-care facility, he said.

“We put a plan together 10 years ago, and we’ve stuck to it, and we’ve seen it through,” Brewer said. “And now it’s time to plan for the next 10 years.”

The expansion’s primary use will be to house a 29,600-square-foot cancer center on the first floor of the building. Also included in the expansion will be a kitchen and cafeteria on the second floor, hospital administration and physician offices on the third and fourth floors, and room for mechanical equipment on the fifth floor. There will also be a parking garage on the ground level.

The addition will replace the remaining portions of the original hospital, built in 1954, and an adjoining addition built in 1962.

Developers requested a zoning variance on building height, a special-use permit for hospital use the zoning district, and approval of a major development permit for the 143,000-square-foot addition. Planners also requested some additional design variances regarding specific elements of the building’s roof line. All were approved by the council.

One of the main issues was a height variance of 91 feet, 7 inches at the building’s highest point from Blake Avenue; the city’s code allowed 35 feet.

Planners contended the building height is needed to accommodate the hospital’s desired uses, and to allow the upper floors of the existing building to directly connect to the expansion.

Another big issue was adequate parking for the structure, but it was determined the hospital’s parking already exceeds the minimum requirement. No further development will be permitted without adequate parking, the council agreed, noting parking overflow is already occurring.

“I hope going forward, in being good neighbors and in serving the community, you take into account those impacts on the neighborhood and the surrounding facilities and the residences that are in close proximity to the hospital,” said Councilwoman Shelly Kaup.

Currently, the hospital has 555 parking spaces. With the expansion, it is required to have 497 spaces, according to city code requirements.

The Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission voted in favor of the variances in April.

Since the beginning of the renovation in 2000, the hospital went from employing 40 physicians to 169 at the end of 2009, according to the hospital’s attorney. Employees have also increased from 352 in 2000 to 547 at the end of 2009, resulting in approximately $139 million more in local salaries.