By Emma Castleberry
Citizens of Longmont and the surrounding communities will be able to access health care closer to home with the addition of a new hospital at the northwest corner of Highway 119 and County Line Road 1. UCHealth broke ground on Longs Peak Hospital a few months ago and the facility is scheduled to open in 2017. While this spring’s rain and snow has slightly slowed the construction, the project is still on schedule, says Longs Peak Hospital CEO Dan Robinson.
“We’re trying to get clarity on an exact opening date, but weather has certainly been an impact,” Robinson says. “We hope to be able to make up time in the next few months.”
The 212,300 square foot facility will feature 53 inpatient beds, an intensive care unit, a surgery center, a Level III trauma center and emergency department, a heliport for emergency transfers, a 24-hour pharmacy, and advanced cardiac services.
Longs Peak Hospital will also offer services that are new to the Longmont area, such as advanced neurological care, advanced orthopedic surgeries, less invasive sinus surgeries, implantable defibrillators, bariatric surgery, vascular surgery, and an enhanced birthing center. The birthing center will have the ability to care for babies born at 32 weeks. Right now, women in the Longmont area with complicated births requiring delivery before 34 weeks have to travel outside of Longmont for care.
Other services new to the Longmont area include endoscopic ultrasound, a tool used to diagnose gastrointestinal and lung disease, and advanced TeleHealth services, including TelePsych care for psychiatric consultations.
Jessica Erickson, CEO of Longmont Economic Development Partnership, shared some numbers about the hospital at the May 18 groundbreaking ceremony. The estimated cost of Longs Peak Hospital is between $185 and $190 million. Thirty million of this budget is allotted for construction job payroll and benefits and $1.2 million will be spent in the Longmont area for construction materials and services. The annual payroll for the hospital when it opens is estimated at $13 million. After the hospital is built, Erickson anticipates a $4 million increase in local spending each year.
“We’re already seeing evidence of this in increased interest and development activity in the surrounding area of the hospital that promises to bring more jobs, more amenities, more services and more housing that is in great need here in Longmont,” Erickson said at the ceremony.
The hospital is funded by UCHealth, a health system which currently includes 6 hospitals: the Colorado Health Medical Group, Medical Center of the Rockies, Memorial Hospital Central, Memorial Hospital North, Poudre Valley Hospital, and University of Colorado Hospital. In 2015, UCHealth employed over 15,000 individuals, delivered over 11,000 babies, and completed over 60,000 surgeries.
The hospital’s construction is a result of direct feedback from the community and physicians.
“In January of 2015, the Longmont Clinic joined UCHealth as employed physicians and we started talking to them about what they believed the community needed in terms of advanced healthcare services,” CEO Robinson says. “We also had several focus groups and meetings with community leaders to understand the needs of Longmont as well as the surrounding communities.”
UCHealth projects the region of Longmont, Niwot and Firestone to grow 6% by 2020, from a current population of 125,000 people to a population of 132,500 people. They expect an even greater increase of 19% growth in the Erie, Frederick, and Dacono region.
Robinson says that UCHealth also became aware that a significant number of Longmont citizens were seeking healthcare outside of the Longmont area.
“During 2015, we had over 1000 patients that were admitted for services at Medical Center of the Rockies or University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora,” Robinson says. “It was a clear message that UCHealth could provide advanced services closer to home by building a new facility.”
The general contractor for the project is Haselden Construction. They are supported by Affiliated Engineers Inc., BHA Design, Inc., JVA Consulting Engineers, Project One Integrated Services, and WHR Architects. The team is using highly sustainable building materials and seeking LEED certification on the new hospital.
“Our objective is to build the hospital with sustainability and protecting our environment in mind, which means we follow LEED requirements as we build,” says Robinson.
The construction of the hospital has brought over 500 construction jobs to the community and upon opening will employ 250 new, permanent positions, for which hiring has already begun.
“I have hired the senior executive team that begins work in July,” says Robinson. “From this point forward, we’ll continue hiring leaders in all the respective clinical areas. We want to be ready to go two months out to make sure that we get the hospital properly commissioned, satisfy all the regulatory requirements, and to be fully prepared to meet the needs of the citizens of Longmont and surrounding communities.”
Published in Longmont Magazine on July 19, 2016.