Aspen hospital expansion wins conceptual go-ahead |

Aspen hospital expansion wins conceptual go-ahead

ASPEN, Colorado ” With minimal opposition from the public, Aspen Valley Hospital officials on Monday got the go-ahead to move forward with their plans to triple the facility’s size.

The Aspen City Council voted unanimously to conceptually approve AVH’s plans to add 214,395 square feet at the medical campus over 20 years.

The proposed two-story development, which must come back to the council for a final review and approval, includes a new underground parking garage and surface lot that would accommodate 338 spaces. Also included in the development plans are an expansion of the emergency and imaging departments, a surgical suite, central plant upgrades, as well as new medical office space, patient and family services, and a rooftop heli-pad.

The expansion of the existing 75,700-square-foot facility on Castle Creek Road would occur in four phases, with a complete build-out expected in 2016.

Final reviews, which will come in the form of denials or approvals, will occur with each individual phase and will span over several years with different councils. The more significant detail design issues are scheduled for phase two; the other phases are less complex in terms of public infrastructure, according to city planners.

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A new bus stop and trail improvements are anticipated in the development’s second phase.

Two people spoke against the proposal, saying its size is inappropriate for the upper valley’s population and would create a traffic burden at the roundabout and the entrance to Aspen.

Mayor Mick Ireland said issues of traffic and parking haven’t been resolved, but will be in future reviews. He commended AVH representatives for providing as much information as they did at a conceptual level.

Based on traffic analysis, the expansion is expected to generate an additional 866 vehicle trips a day. That was the estimate offered to the council by Denver-based LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., the firm hired by the hospital.

Based on recent traffic counts and other analyses, the current level is 752 trips into the AVH campus and 752 going out on a daily basis.

Council members in previous public hearings had asked hospital officials to incorporate into the plan a detox facility, senior citizen accommodations and childcare.

But after further analysis, AVH officials said those amenities would be better served in other capacities off-site ” a notion that the council appeared to support.

There has been minimal public comment on the proposal during numerous hearings over the past few months.

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