World-class city needs world-class hospital

Dear Editor:

I applaud you for your foresight and leadership in granting conceptual approval for the Aspen Valley Hospital expansion and renovation project, which includes the next and final phases.

Five generations of my family either have been born at Aspen Valley Hospital or have been patients there from time to time. I’ve seen the signs that this facility is not up to par with the excellent care that we receive there.

Seventeen years ago, when I worked there, it was becoming outdated and substandard then. I feel strongly that the expansion and renovation is really to right-size the building and to reconfigure the spaces so they maximize efficiency and privacy and bring the hospital to modern standards mandated by law. As Dave Ressler said, they have a job to do and need a facility where that job can be done right.

We on the Community Advisory Committee have met for longer than seven years, including 23 meetings. This has given us the chance to review the plans, renderings and needs assessment and tour the facility throughout the process, including in-depth tours of the old hospital before anything was changed. We were able to ask all the questions we could think of, play devil’s advocate and leave no stone unturned when it came to vetting this project for need, feasibility and long-term viability.

Throughout these meetings, we have gotten to know the hospital staff, the design team and the construction team. They are all impressive in their experience in this very specific technical field. They have all done an exemplary job. The hospital website has been a great resource for viewing renderings and plans. And that video! Have you seen it? A great reminder of how the community of Aspen has rallied around each of the new hospitals.

I think Dave Ressler and the team he’s assembled have done a great job of planning and creating a facility that meets the needs of our local population, our guests and the population of people who have the option to drive to Valley View but would go the extra miles to have Aspen Valley Hospital as their preferred choice. I know the hospital team is really judicious about the impacts on the neighbors and takes their concerns seriously. When the lighting became an issue, it agreed to fix the problem even though the lighting installed was completely to code. Hopefully you all will see to it that the code is aligned with what the public would expect so this doesn’t happen to other projects.

As a volunteer, I gave tours of new and old spaces at the hospital to many people including old-timers, young families and some skeptics. The resounding impression was that it wasn’t overwhelming or too big, but it all made sense.

The topic of community character came up in the City Council meeting. We are a community and resort that is attractive to locals and visitors alike because of the array of great sporting and outdoor activities we have to offer. These activities can be dangerous and in some cases life-threatening. What does it say about our community character when we have world-class amenities and not a hospital that that is up to the task of properly caring for our residents and guests? What does it say about our community character when we consider halting this project partway through? What does it say about our community character when we toy with the idea that this type of building and service should be moved downvalley?

Aspen Valley Hospital is a place that we all will come to depend on whether it’s a happy occasion like a birth, an elective procedure or an accidental injury. In all cases, we all will want to feel that we have invested in a facility that can give us, our families and our guests the best care and the best experience possible.

Thank you for your time and for your great work on behalf of our community and resort.

Cristal Logan