Business Monday: Aspen Valley Hospital embarks on final lap of expansion | AspenTimes.com

Business Monday: Aspen Valley Hospital embarks on final lap of expansion

The fourth and final phase of Aspen Valley Hospital's $178 million expansion project will be contingent on the continued fundraising campaign to pay for one-third of what's called the master facilities plan.

The public hospital is tapping three sources for the entire expansion — $50 million from general obligation bonds that are repaid through property taxes, $60 million out of private donations and the remaining $68 million from AVH's cash reserve.

That's according to hospital CEO David Ressler and Deborah Breen, president of the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, which is charged with the campaign to raise the $60 million. So far, another $17.2 million must be raised to satisfy the mission of the campaign, which launched in 2013. Ressler said he expects the fourth phase to finish about $300,000 under budget.

"What we have are about 344 donors who are making up a total of the $42.8 million," Breen said Friday.

The shovels won't break the dirt for the fourth phase until the hospital cements commitments for the remaining funds. That last phase is about an 18-month project anchored by the Renee and Lester Crown Center for Specialty Care, along with a centralized patient registration and admissions area, as well as a chapel. The specialty care clinic will include medical services aimed at pain management, cardiology, urology and space for visiting physicians.

That final piece also will be the product of an ambitious expansion project that began 12 years ago, which sparked criticism because of its size and scope and drew support because of enhanced medical services at the 25-bedroom hospital.

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Ressler said that for all practical purposes, he considers the third phase of expansion, which began in April 2015, complete. That segment, a 62,000-square-foot project on the hospital's west side, which encompasses a new emergency department named after the Resnick family, a surgery suite and diagnostic imaging, medical office space basement space for storage and mechanical purposes, carried a price tag of $65 million.

Ressler said the emergency room offers privacy to patients that its predecessor did not. Aspen Valley Hospital opened its current location off Castle Creek Road in 1977.

"It's what you would expect from a modern hospital anywhere in the country," he said. "We right-sized the facility to meet those contemporary standards and beyond for the patients and the employees."

A major portion of the second phase, the most costly at $69 million, was completed in 2012. The east side project includes the parking pavilion, the Evelyn H. Lauder Patient Care Pavilion, the cafeteria, the OrthoAspen office, the intensive care unit, the gift shop and administrative offices, among other services.

Also included in the expansion was a housing complex located between the hospital and the Whitcomb Terrace Assisted Living Facility. The complex is a mix of 20 studios and one-bedroom units for hospital employees. The hospital has a total of 67 living units for its employees.

The hospital averages about 75,000 encounters with patients on an annual basis, Breen said. In 2017 it generated $123.9 million in patient revenue, including $100 million from outpatients, according to a presentation to the hospital's board of directors at its monthly meeting Feb. 12.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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