By: Wayne Heilman, The Gazette
Two major hospital construction projects that are changing the skyline of northern Colorado Springs are reaching major milestones this month.
The hospitals are celebrating the "topping out" of their steel structures, marking the halfway point for UCHealth Memorial Hospital North and Children's Hospital's new Colorado Springs location.
Memorial North celebrated its topping out Feb. 7, 16 months after breaking ground on the 130,000-square-foot expansion that will add a new four-story tower to the hospital's campus northeast of Briargate Parkway and Union Boulevard. The $128 million project, which will open next spring, will add 40 inpatient beds dedicated to women's health services, including labor and delivery, post-partum and cesarean section suites. The expansion also will include eight additional rooms and a CT scanner for the Emergency Department and space for four additional operating rooms.
"We're now past the midway point," UCHealth Memorial CEO Joel Yuhas said during the ceremony for Memorial North. "In a little more than a year from now, we expect to have our new tower open to patients."
Children's Hospital Colorado will celebrate its topping out at 11 a.m. Friday on the same site, 15 months after starting construction. T-he 294,000-square-foot hospital is scheduled to open in April 2019 with 110 inpatient beds as the first pediatric-only hospital in the Springs. The $166 million project was recently expanded to build out all 50 patient beds in the neonatal intensive care unit from the 39 originally planned because of the growth in the Colorado Springs area and the increase in admissions to Memorial North's birthing center.
"We are nearing completion of the structure of the new building and as we gaze at the progress of construction, we can envision the future of pediatric healthcare in Colorado Springs," said Greg Raymond, regional vice president for Children's Hospital Colorado's southern Colorado operations.
Children's also announced that the Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation has approved a $1 million grant for construction of the new hospital, which El Pomar CEO Bill Hybl said is attracting more top medical personnel to the Colorado Springs area and bringing care closer to home for the area's 225,000 children.
The Memorial North addition and Children's will be connected by a three-story hallway. GE Johnson Construction Co. Inc. is general contractor for both projects. The Children's construction project employs more than 2,000 people while the Memorial project employs another 450 workers.
Another nearby hospital project, a 168,000-square-foot expansion of St. Francis Medical Center, southeast of Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road, celebrated its topping off last fall with exterior work expected to be completed next month, said Chris Valentine, a spokesman for hospital operator Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. The $102 million project, scheduled to open in about a year, more than doubles the size of the hospital's Emergency Department, adds 21 beds to its neonatal intensive care unit and adds three operating rooms plus unfinished space for future expansion.