Q: Why is the hospital building an expansion?
A: There are several reasons. When the hospital relocated from First Street
to Rush Drive in 2008, the vision of the hospital’s board and administration
was that a new, modern facility would attract new doctors and services
to Chaffee County. The acreage surrounding the new hospital would allow
for future growth and creation of a medical campus to centrally locate
health care services in our region.
That vision has become a reality in only a few short years. Since 2008,
HRRMC has added over 200 more employees to its payroll, and in the past
three years alone, we have added 13 new services. All of this growth means
we have outgrown our current space. The expansion will provide additional
space for our providers and staff and allow for better access to services
for people in our community.
Many of our providers are now located off campus, and the expansion would
relocate those practices into a medical office building that would be
part of the hospital. It is convenient for patients and increases staff
efficiency to have all of our outpatient services in the hospital building.
Physicians can communicate more easily between departments and have better
access to all services.
Q: Where will the expansion be located on the hospital campus?
A: The expansion is actually in two locations. HRRMC’s laboratory has
experienced substantial growth in recent years and would be adding a one-story
addition on the west side of the hospital.
The medical office building will be built in the grassy space south of
the café between the staff and visitor parking lots. This space
was designated for a future expansion when the hospital was built in 2008.
A portion of the parking lots to the east and west of the building site
would also be used for the expansion. There would be separate entrances
to the new medical office building for easier patient access.
Q: How big will the expansion be?
A: The three-story medical office building is 46,601 square feet. The building
at its tallest point is 53 feet, 9 inches, which is below the 54-foot
maximum allowed for commercial buildings in Salida. The lab addition would
add another 2,200 square feet.
An additional 160 parking spaces will be added to the west side of the
hospital primarily for staff. This would make parking for visitors and
patients much more accessible near the front of the hospital and the new
medical office building.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has required HRRMC to relocate
County Road 154 to make exiting off of Highway 291 safer. Therefore, instead
of crossing over the small bridge that is currently on the road, a newly
relocated County Road 154 will be developed to accommodate increased traffic.
This will provide a separate entrance for future services located west
of the hospital, allow staff and service vehicles to access the campus
from the west, and keep the hospital’s main driveway from becoming
Q: What practices/services would be in the expansion and why?
A: Most practices currently located at the HRRMC Medical Clinics on Highway
50 would be relocated into the expansion. These include orthopedics, gynecology,
neurology, pain management, urology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and Wellness
U. The rehab/wellness space alone will be double the size of the current
space at Highway 50. Plans include a walking track, a therapy pool, and
a kitchen for hands-on therapy sessions for occupational therapy patients
and cooking demonstrations for Wellness U.
Practices in the hospital’s Specialty Clinic would also move into
the expansion. These include cardiology, general surgery, vascular surgery,
plastic surgery, gastroenterology, internal medicine, nephrology and pulmonology.
Since these practices would be moving out of the Specialty Clinic, additional
space would open up for oncology and infusion. Infusion would increase
from five to eight stations, and a blood-draw room would be conveniently
located by medical oncology.
Q: Why wasn’t this done when the hospital was built initially?
A: This was identified as a wing in the original plans for the hospital.
The hospital board and administration hoped that the new hospital building
would spur a growth in services but felt it was not financially prudent
to assume this would happen quickly. The rapid level of growth in services
and volumes of patients was not anticipated at the time.
Q: Why isn’t this being built on the west side of the hospital? What
are the future plans for that space?
A: The medical office building will house outpatient services only. The west
side of the hospital will be used for inpatient service expansions in
the future. There are no immediate plans to expand inpatient services
at this time.
Q: Why was additional land purchased behind the hospital?
A: For future expansion and growth opportunities. We have been approached
by Rocky Mountain Eye Center and Solvista Health about potentially building
clinics on the land. There is also potential for a long-term care facility
down the road, but nothing is in our immediate plans.
Q: Does the hospital own all of the buildings on the campus? Why are there
so many single-story buildings?
A: Many of the practices on the hospital campus are privately owned. First
Street Family Health, Central Colorado ENT, Central Colorado Dermatology,
the VA clinic, and Wentz Foot & Ankle Specialists are all privately
owned facilities. Single-story buildings made the most economic sense
for the business owners.
We are not able to “build up” on our existing hospital because
of structural restrictions and because it’s much more expensive
to build on an existing structure.
Q: Why not build a parking garage instead of so many parking lots?
A: Multi-level parking garages are very expensive to build. For now, parking
lots work better for our campus, and we are not large enough that a parking
garage would make sense.
Q: Would the expansion block the view of residents to the south of the
A: It should not obstruct views for the homeowners. The building will not
exceed the 54-foot maximum allowed height for commercial buildings.
Q: Would there be any other impact from the building on nearby residents?
A: Sound and visual screens would be implemented to surround all equipment.
These will help to reduce the noise and prevent equipment from being visible.
Q: Has the hospital board approved the expansion?
A: Yes. They approved it at a special board meeting on June 16.
Q: What is the projected timeline for the expansion project?
A: The anticipated timeline is 16 months.
The HRRMC medical campus provides a central location in our region for
health services. The biggest reason that we want to expand our campus
is so we can provide better service and offer more health care options
to residents. Our community can access specialty services locally instead
of traveling to the Front Range.
Q: What is the financial impact on HRRMC of building the expansion?
A: HRRMC has experienced significant growth since the hospital was constructed.
Recent remodels on the main campus and at the HRRMC Medical Clinics on
Highway 50 have been completed in an effort to squeeze more services into
existing facilities but there just is no more available space. Our physician
clinic and infusion services can no longer grow, despite additional need
in the community. The laboratory cannot function in its original space
due to significant growth in volume and equipment needs. Rehab and cardiac
services can no longer expand to support the needs of our physicians and
patients. Finally, operational challenges continue to increase as a result
of inadequate space, facilities and parking.
With the additional revenue projections, as well as potential operational
savings, we will recover the cost over the next 20 to 25 years. The building’s
useful life will be approximately 40 years so we will realize a favorable
return on our investment.
The new addition would result in an estimated $2.3 million in additional
cash flows. Cash flows will result from expanding rehabilitation, wellness
services, infusion, internal medicine and other physician specialty service
lines. The new addition will also produce cost savings by eliminating
the space the hospital is currently leasing for its Patient Financial
Services and Education departments—both will be relocated to the
Medical Clinics on Highway 50.
To fund the project, HRRMC will use existing cash reserves and has arranged
to borrow an additional $10 million after the project is completed. We
recently refunded our original 2006 net revenue bonds that were issued
for $30.20 million at a 5.25% interest rate. The new loan, including the
additional $10 million earmarked for the expansion, was issued at 2.96%
for $33.36 million. HRRMC’s preliminary financial projections demonstrate
that we will maintain overall financial benchmarks and performance indicators
at favorable levels.