Project category: New construction (completed December 2005)

Chief administrator: Paul Chodkowski, Administrator, (970) 668-1458

Firm: Earl Swensson Associates, Inc., (615) 329-9445

Design team: Architect/Interior Designer, Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.; Program Manager/Owner's Rep, ADAMS Project Management Consulting, LLC; Construction Contractor, M.A. Mortenson Company; MEP Engineer, Cator, Ruma & Associates; Structural Engineer, KSi/Structural Engineers; Civil Engineer, S.A. Miro, Inc.

Photography: Scott McDonald, © Hedrich Blessing

Total building area (sq. ft.): 95,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $274

Total construction cost (excluding land): $26,000,000

This new, atypical hospital does not follow any normal models with its 25-bed capacity mix and large emergency department. The design concept focused on creating a site-specific facility for a tourist-destination area, designed with sensitivity to the ski resort area and nature of the locale.

Peaks and valleys in community size determined how the new facility would be designed. During tourist seasons, the community of 35,000 year-round residents balloons up to 110,000. The two-story hospital can accommodate one additional floor for additional med/surg beds in the future.

In addition to designing for future growth, other primary objectives included incorporating operational efficiencies, maintaining good relationships between departments, sharing as many support spaces as possible, and designing appropriately for the resort community—for example, using pitched roofs, timbers, and stone. Massing of the building and material selections are consistent with the regional architectural vernacular.

Interior spaces are reminiscent of a mountain ski lodge, with the lobby's large atrium, wrought iron chandelier, and stone fireplace. Public spaces are oriented around the lobby for simplistic wayfinding. The patient rooms are all private and take advantage of the expansive views to the surrounding valley and mountains beyond.

Every room is designed around a central report area so that the beds can be used flexibly as universal rooms. The emergency department is also designed to respond as patient volume dictates. Four of the 16 private patient beds in the ED can be closed off in slow season.