Some Glenwood Springs city councilors have qualms with Valley View proposal
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City councilors have different views regarding the grand nature of a proposed remodel of Valley View Hospital.As presented to council on Oct. 1, by Sam DiCarlo and John Potter Jr. with HFR Design, which has done the design work on the previous five phases at the hospital, the latest addition would add a 143,000-square-foot, five-story expansion to the existing building.The expansion will replace the existing building, which was constructed in 1954, and an addition from 1962. The remodel will reconfigure the entrance to the hospital and include a new lobby and administration offices, but will also include an outpatient cancer center with incorporated radiation and chemotherapy services.Some 30 additional parking spaces will also be included in a parking garage within the addition.While some of the councilors supported the proposal, which DiCarlo called “a work in progress,” others were not sold on the sheer size of the addition.”It is awfully huge,” said councilor Russ Arensman, saying that the proposed building makes St. Stephen’s Church across the street seem “modest” in size.Councilor Dave Sturges agreed, saying he had concerns with the mass and height of the structure.”I think that we are really pushing the mass of this structure in what is a largely residential area of the community,” Sturges said.The new building height will match the previous phase one addition, which included the clock tower. Council granted a zoning variance with the clock tower and phase one additions of 62 feet instead of the 35 feet stated in the city code.A proposal document addressed to City Council stated, “It is anticipated the building height of the new addition may be in excess of the 62 feet, due to the lower grade.”According to Potter, the new addition will be about 14 feet higher because the ground level grade reduction from the clock tower building to the proposed entrance exposes the basement level.”My recollection was the clock tower was an exception really, rather than becoming the rule in terms of height limitations,” Sturges said.DiCarlo, however, told Sturges that the proposal was just a “concept” at this stage and that nothing was final.”I would like to point out that the clock tower is still the exception,” he said.The size of the building, DiCarlo said, is determined by providing sufficient space for the cancer center on the first floor. He said that the cancer center was not included in the original design, but that the hospital administration felt it would be a value to the hospital and the community to include it.Valley View CEO Gary Brewer told council that the cancer center is a critical piece of making Valley View the regional hospital of choice for area residents.”I really believe that this is what is going to take us there,” Brewer said.And the cancer center was originally designed to be between 38,000 and 40,000 square feet on the first floor, but was reduced to 31,000 square feet because of cost, according to DiCarlo.”That is really the driver for the shape and mass of this building,” DiCarlo said. “It requires a certain amount of square feet to pull it off, so it sets the tone for the whole design.”Not all councilors objected to the size of the proposal. Councilman Stephen Bershenyi called the proposed addition “the crown jewel” to the hospital, and was anxious for construction to get under way.The proposal has yet to go to the planning and zoning commission for approval and could see some changes before it does.City Planner Jill Peterson said that the hospital has to submit a completed application and will then take the P&Z recommendations to council again. Peterson anticipates the complete application by Nov. 10.DiCarlo anticipated construction to begin in May 2010, with completion sometime in email@example.com
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