Giant cranes that have towered over Children's Hospital Colorado Springs and UCHealth Memorial North are coming down this week, a sign that both hospital expansions have reached another milestone before opening next year.
Removal of the crane for Memorial began Tuesday, and workers will begin removing the crane from Children's on Friday.
The cranes have dominated the skyline in northern Colorado Springs for much of the past year on two of the biggest projects in the area.
About 500 workers from GE Johnson Construction Co, general contractor for both projects, and its subcontractors have been working on the sites.
Both projects broke ground in 2016, though construction on Children's didn't start until May 2017. They celebrated the "topping out" of their steel structures in February. Both are to be completed by early next year, with Memorial North's expansion expected to open in February and Children's sometime next spring. They are connected by a three-story hallway and will share services, including heating, food service and a loading dock.
"The (Memorial) project is well on its way, and the majority of infrastructure is complete. So construction can move onto the brick-and-mortar stage and interior work," said Tamera Dunseth Rosenbaum, associate chief nursing officer for UCHealth Memorial Hospital and head of Memorial North operations. "We have 88 acres on this campus. And as we grow, we have a lot of opportunity to expand services to the most rapidly growing parts of the city."
Memorial North's addition of four operating rooms and eight emergency treatment "bays" will open in mid- to late August, with the rest of the $128 million project to open in February, Rosenbaum said.
The later opening will include 40 beds for women's services, including labor and delivery, postpartum and Caesarean section suites. Breast cancer and other cancer treatment may be added, depending on patient volume, she said.
Children's is building a $165 million hospital with a 50-bed neonatal intensive care unit, 48 beds for pediatric surgery and pediatric intensive care and 13 other inpatient beds. The 294,000-square-foot, five-story building also will have eight operating rooms with associated recovery and extended-stay rooms, 31 emergency exam and six behavioral health rooms, a Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, a sleep study center and space for medical imaging.
Children's already has begun hiring 150 staff members to join the 450 employees working at Memorial's Central campus in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and pediatric units that Children's operates there, said Greg Raymond, regional vice president for Children's Hospital Colorado's Colorado Springs operations.
Children's is recruiting nationwide to start training in the third and fourth quarters, Raymond said.
Children's will keep the neonatal intensive care unit it operates at Memorial Central, though it will be cut from 50 to 10 to 15 beds and will provide a lower level of acute care than in the same unit at Children's new hospital, he said.
The nonprofit doesn't plan to operate a pediatric intensive care unit at Memorial Central because it doesn't expect enough patients to support that second unit, and it's still determining whether to retain pediatric beds there, he said.
The Memorial North campus also has an office building that houses Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group. The campus master plan calls for a second hospital tower, a second medical office building and a parking garage. Memorial opened the north campus in 2007 with 88 inpatient beds.
UCHealth also operates Grandview Hospital near Interstate 25 and North Nevada Avenue. It specializes in orthopedic patients, though it is not designated an orthopedic hospital. The 22-bed hospital opened in late 2016 and has a four-bed intensive care unit, three operating rooms, 10 exam rooms in the emergency department, and laboratory, kitchen, pharmacy and imaging operations.
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