Vail Daily column: Looking to our future
During the past two years, Vail Valley Medical Center has collaborated with neighbors, medical staff, town of Vail planners and expert consultants to draft a master facility plan. This plan will help guide us in remodeling and building Vail’s hospital of the future. We will submit our plan and application to the town of Vail in the near future. With construction scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015, the state-of-the-art medical campus will aim to exceed the expectations of the diverse patients we serve. The facility will directly contribute to improvements in patient care, safety and privacy, and operational efficiencies.
The primary goal of the master facility plan is to support the hospital’s growth over the past 50 years as a world-class medical facility upgrading and continuing to enhance efforts to provide high-quality care to our community, visitors and world class orthopedic sports medicine to elite athletes. While working closely with the town of Vail, we’ve aligned many of our objectives for the new hospital, including adding covered parking and moving traffic off of West Meadow Drive. We’ve established a solid foundation for a partnership between VVMC and the town of Vail, which has allowed us to collaborate throughout the planning process and determine the feasibility of each element of our plan.
A specific portion of our planning process included a feasibility study regarding a shared parking structure on the town’s municipal center property. The town explored the possibility of public parking on the weekends, but it was determined by the town that public parking and its associated revenue were not needed in that location, resulting in one user, VVMC.
After careful evaluation, we discovered the expense to construct a parking structure for 175 spaces for VVMC, replace existing surface parking, along with the required underground pedestrian tunnel to connect the structure to the hospital, would cost substantially more than it would to increase the parking capabilities on our own hospital property. In addition to the greatly increased construction costs, VVMC would also be required to make annual land lease payments to the town for the use of the town’s property.
As a nonprofit fiduciary, we could not justify the additional expense of the proposed joint parking structure and elected another option to expand parking underground on VVMC’s campus at a much lower total cost. This option will still add covered parking spots on the VVMC campus and will still move traffic off of West Meadow Drive.
We appreciate everyone’s efforts to explore this possibility, and we came to a relatively quick conclusion before substantial resources were committed or expended by either party. As we move forward with the master facility plan, we will continue to collaborate with the town of Vail, as well as the community, to build a hospital everyone can be proud to call their own. We hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates about VVMC’s master facility plan and visit our webpage dedicated to keeping you informed on the latest progress at http://www.vvmc.com/build.
Doris Kirchner is president and CEO of Vail Valley Medical Center.