Aspen Valley Hospital gets five-year extension to build final phase of expansion
With $12 million left to fundraise for the fourth and final phase of the Aspen Valley Hospital expansion, City Council on Tuesday granted a five-year extension of vested rights to complete the project.
AVH’s 2013 approval of the hospital master plan was set to expire on May 23, after a previous council had granted seven years of vesting rights.
The final phase is 4% of the overall 214,000-square-foot project, and includes an outpatient clinic, a central registration area, a new main entrance, a chapel, a cafe expansion and offices for the AVH Foundation, which is the fundraising arm for the hospital.
Deborah Breen, president and CEO of the foundation, said on Tuesday morning prior to Council’s regular meeting that $48 million has been raised toward the $60 million capital campaign.
The master plan is a multi-year hospital expansion, along with infrastructure and campus improvements that when finished will total an estimated $180 million project.
General obligation bonds and a district mill levy tax also helped pay for the project, among other funding mechanisms.
Roughly $148 million has been invested in the campus; the third phase alone required an investment of $64.8 million.
Breen said thankfully the first three phases are complete, because the expanded and reconstructed hospital has provided critical capacity for medical operations to run smoothly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t think that people fully appreciated our rationale that the big piece of it was infection control until now,” she said, adding the expansion is about having AVH run efficiently with patient privacy and a safe environment. “Thank God the community helped us with this project.”
She noted that just over $1 million has been donated in the past 60 days from community members for direct response to COVID-19 efforts.
“It’s been really heartwarming,” Breen said. “People have been tremendously generous.”
She said she hopes donors will continue to be generous in the next couple of years as the capital campaign goes on, but has been put on ice during the COVID-19 crisis.
“In today’s environment, I hope in the next 18 months to raise that $12 million,” she said. “It will have to be a full-court press when we do start fundraising again.”
The final phase is 8,575 square feet of new development.
Councilwoman Ann Mullins said while she doesn’t generally support vested rights extensions, she does for AVH.
“The hospital has done a terrific job in this health crisis and whatever we can do for them to move forward I want to do, and that is moving vesting forward,” she said.
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Aspen City Council is considering yet again to ask voters whether to repurpose Wheeler real estate transfer tax for another community use. The idea has been discussed dozens of times over the years by various councils.