‘Historic’ moment for Aspen Valley Hospital | AspenTimes.com

‘Historic’ moment for Aspen Valley Hospital

ASPEN – Though the expansion of Aspen Valley Hospital ultimately will bring bulldozers, backhoes and cement trucks to the hospital’s Castle Creek campus, those speaking at Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony were quick to point out that building a state-of-the-art facility will be about “more than just bricks and mortar.”

“This is a community hospital. We have a connection with our hospital unlike most places,” said AVH board chairman John Sarpa, speaking before a crowd of 100-plus hospital staffers and supporters gathered outside the existing hospital building.

A few moments later, Sarpa, fellow board members, hospital administrators and representatives from Haselden Construction set shovel to dirt: “I don’t get to use this word often, but that’s historic,” Sarpa said, summarizing the hospital’s “journey” over the past few years.

That trip arrived in its current place – breaking ground on Phase II of an expansion plan that began with the completion of the Aspen Birth Center in 2008 – when voters approved the issuance of $50 million in general obligation bonds in the November election. The bonds will be repaid over 20 years by a property tax increase; the owner of a home valued at $500,000 will pay an extra $3 per month, for instance.

The second phase of the project includes, among other things, expansion of all outpatient areas, leasable space for physicians, increased parking and more. The first steps in this process will begin immediately and primarily focus on infrastructure – drainage, preparing to put in the parking structure, etc. – according to AVH facilities manager John Schied. Patients will likely notice the work, but should not be directly affected, he said.

“Most of the work for the next four months is going to be outside the walls of the hospital,” Schied said Tuesday. “What we will be doing this winter is laying the groundwork for the rest of the project.”

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He said residents of Whitcomb Terrace will be most impacted by the construction, but that hospital administrators have been talking with Whitcomb officials and residents to prepare them for what “this might look like and what they might hear.”

Schied further explained that it is “my job to run interference and mitigate the impacts … to make them as minimal as humanly possible throughout the entire process.”

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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