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Hospitals patience pays off

Post independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson
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For months, weve watched Valley View Hospitals new addition rise up to dominate the skyline. Next week, the hospital will open its new space with a celebration and visiting dignitaries. The opening also coincides with the beginning of celebrations of the hospitals 50th year of operation.On Tuesday, Aug. 16, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., will inaugurate the new building with a ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m. in the lobby. There will also be a special 50th birthday cake to mark the occasion.The following week, staff and their families will be able to tour the new 160,000-square-foot addition, said hospital spokeswoman Alice Sundeen. On Thursday, Aug. 25, five local chambers of commerce will hold joint business after-hours mixers with refreshments and a tour of the new building.The public is invited to a community celebration of the opening from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26. Elected officials from the city and county, as well as the hospital board, will speak about the hospitals 50 years of service to the community.The new addition will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 for an all-day open house. There will be tours for the public, as well as refreshments. Saturday will be the only time to get a tour of the new hospital space, Sundeen said. Once we have patients you cant tour it again, she said. After that the departments will move in.R.J. Griffin & Co., of Nashville, Tenn., built the $30 million, four-story expansion, which architects Hart, Freeland, Roberts, also of Nashville, designed.At 160,00 square feet, the new building is three times the size of the original hospital. The new building will position Valley View to become the premier regional health-care facility on the West Slope.With cross beams and steeply-pitched green metal roofs, the addition is intended to look like a mountain lodge on a grand scale.Phase 1 of the expansion, which opens next week, features a new entrance to the hospital, a 92-foot clock tower, a covered emergency room entrance and additional parking under a covered main entrance. The new 7,900-square-foot emergency department will feature two trauma rooms, two cardiac rooms and a total of 14 beds. It replaces the current ER, which is 3,000 square feet.Next door to the ER is the radiology department, which, at 16,000 square feet, will represent a huge increase over the current 5,000-square-foot department. The centerpiece of the first phase of the expansion is the new entrance to the hospital. Instead of coming in directly from Blake Avenue, patients and visitors will enter on what used to be 19th Street off Blake, driving past the Glenwood Medical Associates building and turning right to a covered entrance. The atrium lobby features coffee and gift shops and an Internet cafe separated by a large open space that accommodates tables and chairs. The spacious waiting room has a free-standing fireplace open on two sides.For more information about the opening events, call Valley View Hospital at 945-6535.


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