Colorado State University is moving forward with plans to build a $59 million on-campus health and medical center that will serve as an important gateway to campus, enhance medical services provided to students and the community, and bolster the university’s research capabilities related to health care and medicine.
The CSU System Board of Governors today approved the plan for a proposed four-story health and medical center, which will be located on the northwest corner of College Avenue and Prospect Road. Construction could begin this fall, pending the board’s approval of the financial plan for the new facility, with the goal of completing the project in late 2017.
The 113,000-square-foot building will be home to the existing CSU Health Network, which provides a full range of medical, mental health, and health education and prevention services to CSU students. The new center also will house public health care services provided by University of Colorado Health and Associates in Family Medicine, including a walk-in clinic and occupational health services. In addition, the facility will feature a new Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging, providing space and a framework for collaborative research on aging and educational, outreach programs.
Bob and Kitty Wilson, on behalf of Columbine Health Systems, have personally pledged a $5 million gift, and UCHealth will contribute $5 million in support of the new center. These gifts help cover construction costs, which also will be funded by revenues generated by the CSU Health Network and tenant lease payments.
“The new CSU Health and Medical Center will serve as a prominent gateway to campus and will certainly become a significant asset to our students and the broader Fort Collins community,” President Tony Frank said. “We are deeply grateful for the support of Columbine Health Systems and UCHealth, and the generosity of the Wilson family. Thanks to their vision, Colorado State will greatly enhance medical services we offer to campus, deepen our biological research capabilities and meet a clear community health-care need.”
Expanded capacity to meet student needs
The new facility will consolidate the CSU Health Network in one state-of-the-art location, providing students with access to comprehensive health care services in one convenient place. Campus health services, including comprehensive medical and counseling facilities, are currently housed in two locations – Aylesworth Hall and the Hartshorn Health Services Building. Aylesworth is an old residence hall, constructed in 1956 and since converted to administrative offices, that was never designed for providing health care or counseling services. Hartshorn was built in 1964 as a health clinic and infirmary at a time when CSU had about 9,000 students.
In the time since Hartshorn was brought online, the campus population has tripled, and the health care needs of students have changed dramatically. Demand for health care and mental health services already exceeds the physical capacity available at both Hartshorn and Aylesworth.
“Our motto is care for the body and mind, and this new facility provides CSU Health Network with a physical design that supports and enhances our integrated approach to providing care to the whole student,” said Anne Hudgens, executive director of the CSU Health Network. “We pay close attention to providing multidisciplinary teams and spaces that ensure the best health care possible for students, who are usually learning to navigate their health care needs and concerns on their own for the first time. The Health Network looks forward to continuing to serve as a health home for our growing student population, and we’re excited about collaborations that will be possible by being in close proximity to our partners in the building.”
Today, the CSU Health Network employs about 250 people between the two locations. All functions would move to the new health and medical center, including the laboratory and pharmacy departments, and a shared radiology department with UCHealth. The network also provides physical therapy, psychiatry, optometry, immunizations, travel medicine, an allergy and asthma clinic, a women’s clinic, a dental clinic, counseling services and student health education and prevention programs.
More than half of all CSU students use the Health Network each year, making it one of the most widely used student services on campus. With a more efficient building design, providers could serve up to 40 percent more students.
Partnerships to serve the community’s needs
The new health and medical center also will be home to a host of health and wellness services for the whole community. Building upon more than 50 years of primary care experience in northern Colorado, Associates in Family Medicine will offer primary care services at the new health and medical center and will operate a walk-in clinic that will feature extended and weekend hours.
“Partnering with UCHealth and CSU on this project fits our mission of providing compassionate, convenient health care at the neighborhood level,” said Dr. James A. Sprowell, chief executive officer of Associates in Family Medicine. “Comprehensive services offered at the facility will help simplify the patient experience.”
UCHealth will supplement these offerings with occupational health and radiology services.
“Our community is stronger when we all work together,” said Kevin Unger, president and chief executive officer of Medical Center of the Rockies and Poudre Valley Hospital, which are part of the UCHealth system. “As a lifetime Fort Collins resident and a proud CSU alumnus myself, I’m ecstatic about this opportunity to combine the very best our community has to offer in health care, academics, research and healthy aging. This collaboration is going to result in something great that will be here to serve the community and the university for generations to come.”
Center for Healthy Aging established
A partnership with Columbine Health Systems will enhance university research on aging, and establish a Center for Healthy Aging in coordination with several academic programs at CSU, primarily in the College of Health and Human Sciences, and also in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the College of Natural Sciences. Columbine Health Systems has been a key CSU partner, providing student scholarships and internships, as well as supporting the College of Health and Human Sciences’ gerontology program.
“We have always wanted Columbine Health Services to be an integral part of the health care system in Northern Colorado. This investment helps to solidify the importance of health care by connecting it to innovation, research and forward-thinking of the university,” said Bob Wilson, owner and chief executive officer of Columbine Health Systems. “It allows Columbine Health Systems and its focus on healthy aging to live into the future as a health care provider in the community. I am privileged to give back to this community that has supported us over the years.”
The Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging will house an integrated suite of offices and lab spaces that will support a variety of research programs, outreach and student educational opportunities. The center will engage in cutting-edge research on biological, cognitive, psychological, social and behavioral factors that lead to healthy and successful aging. This leverages and brings together extensive existing research on aging at the university, and offers new opportunities for research and community programs.
“CSU has a long history of aging-related research,” said Lise Youngblade, associate dean for research and graduate programs in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences. “This beautiful new center will provide a collaborative, state-of-the-art space to bring successful researchers together from across disciplines to work toward innovative solutions that support healthy and successful aging. We are so grateful to the donors, Bob and Kitty Wilson, for supporting this vision with their very generous gift.”
The medical center will sit on about four acres on one of the most visible intersections in Fort Collins and will serve as a gateway to the CSU campus. Colorado State will participate in the City of Fort Collins’ site plan advisory review process, a collaborative initiative that provides for master plan review and advisory recommendations from the city.
Fast facts about approved medical center
What: A health and medical center on campus to house health and wellness services for students and the community.
Where: Northwest corner of Prospect Road and College Avenue.
When: Groundbreaking is planned for this fall, with project completion late 2016, pending additional approvals.
Building specs: A four-story building, estimated $59 million construction cost, 113,000 square feet, on four acres
- CSU’s Health Network, which provides a full range of medical, optical, dental and mental health services to students
- University of Colorado Health providing public occupational health and radiology services
- Associates in Family Medicine offers a public primary care and walk-in clinic with extended hours on evenings and weekends. Students may access this care when the CSU Health Network is closed.
- Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging will enhance university research on aging in coordination with several CSU academic programs, primarily the College of Health and Human Sciences.