PVH to raze original building as part of expansion

FORT COLLINS – The original Poudre Valley Hospital building, first opened in 1925, will be sacrificed in order for the hospital to expand in the next three years, according to a blog posted Tuesday by hospital CEO Kevin Unger.

A 50,000-square-foot section of PVH near the corner of Lemay Avenue and Doctors Lane will be torn down and replaced with a 113,000-square-foot, two-story building that will allow the hospital to expand a range of services from infusion therapy to emergency-room services.

The plans come at a time when Poudre Valley Health System as a whole is expanding, incorporating new technologies and hiring new employees in droves. PVHS employs 4,300 at last count, and in March, treated its first two patients using a new radiosurgery technology that allows for fast, more precise image-guided technology.

PVHS is growing by forming new relationships as well, with a joint operating agreement with University of Colorado Hospital that will create a new entity called University of Colorado Health.

Together, the two institutions are making a play for Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs, placing a bid of $1.79 billion for a 40-year lease of the city-owned hospital system. The bid won over the Colorado Springs City Council but must go before voters before it becomes official.

In the midst of all of this change is the uncertainty about the future of health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Payments for patients on Medicare and Medicaid will change, and no one is sure how. One thing that is certain is that a higher degree of patient care will be more important than ever.

Since the original building opened 87 years ago, PVH has undergone 17 renovations, bringing the total square footage of the building to 700,000. The facility sits on 19 acres, but the site is landlocked by neighborhoods and businesses.

PVHS has expanded in other areas, including the hospital system’s Harmony Campus and Medical Center of the Rockies, which opened in 2007, but this project will allow for major expansion at the original location.

“We’ve reached a critical juncture where the issues of age and expansion needs have collided,” Unger said in the blog. “With Northern Colorado’s rapid growth, we’ll be in a tight pinch if we sit back and do nothing at PVH. The new building will solve many space issues and expansion needs for years to come.”

The post goes on to state that the idea of tearing down the original hospital has been an annual discussion as the hospital system ponders expansion. The oldest portion of the building is deteriorating, and costs $1 million annually in upkeep.

A plan was approved in April to demolish and replace the oldest section of PVH. The demolition must be handled delicately, as the walls contain asbestos placed behind the walls before the 1989 ban of the substance.

Construction is expected to begin in 2013 and is scheduled for completion in 2015.

To read the blog, click here.

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Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR
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