To respond to the rapid growth of the Montrose, Colorado, community, the hospital designed and built a 90,000-sq.-ft., four-story bed tower. The addition added bed capacity, a new emergency room, an ICU, front entry, a cafeteria, and a helipad. The new design not only updated an old facility using healing environment principals, but also corrected accessibility and safety concerns.

The original “garden-level” hospital's Main Entry and Emergency Department access were separated from parking by steps and ramps with an inclined drop-off drive. The new entry aligns the Main Entry and Emergency Department with surface parking, providing a safe and pleasant patient experience.

The new design used patient- and family-friendly elements while remaining fiscally responsible. “We didn't want it to be a Taj Mahal, but we also didn't want institutional, and we successfully found the balance,” says Ken Platou, Montrose Memorial Hospital administrator and CEO. “Because of its appearance and feel, the community's perception of the hospital has greatly improved.” The palette of taupe colored walls, blue-gray carpeting, and burgundy and forest trim provides a warm and modern feel. The change to private rooms with family waiting space was a valuable modification. The new cafeteria, located at the entrance to the hospital, has become a destination-dining facility for the public, as well as a welcoming space for visitors.

The community is ecstatic with the new design and structure. The creativity and innovation in the design are helping the hospital with recruiting and have created a landmark in the community that will last for years to come.

Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed May 2005)

Chief administrator: Ken Platou, Administrator and CEO, (970) 240-7397

Firm: H+L Architecture, (303) 295-1792

Design team: Rob Davidson, Principal-in-Charge; Jim Burridge, Project Manager (H+L Architecture); Shawn Slater, Project Manager (GE Johnson Construction Company, Inc.)

Photography: Fred J. Fuhrmeister, Time Frame Photography & Art Illustration; H+L Architecture

Total building area (sq. ft.): 90,970 (new); 11,120 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $151 (new); $90 (renovation)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $13,699,200 (new); $1,000,800 (renovation)