Swedish adding two floors to hospital

Project will begin around end of year

Tom Munds
Swedish Medical Center plans an expansion that will add 40 beds to the facility. The $50 million project will also include some space renovation. The work is scheduled to start late this year and last about two years.

Crews are to begin work around the end of this year on a $50 million expansion at Englewood's Swedish Medical Center.

The project will add two floors to the hospital's south tower, creating an additional 65,000 square feet of space. About 28,000 square feet of existing space will be renovated.

“We began looking at an expansion project about two years ago because we were facing space challenges that made it necessary to convert private rooms to two-patient rooms,” said Mary White, Swedish CEO and president. “We have successfully requested funding for the expansion and equipment upgrades to HealthONE, so we are developing the plans and design so we can move ahead with the project.”

Swedish is operated by HealthONE Colorado, a joint venture between Tennessee-based Hospital Corporation of America, which is by far the largest for-profit hospital operator in the country, and the Colorado Health Foundation, a nonprofit grant provider that focuses on healthy living, access to health care and increasing the numbers of Coloradans with medical insurance.

White said the project is being designed so there will be little or no disruption to hospital operations. While there will be a large crane on site and construction-associated noise, she said this project will have much less impact on the city and surrounding area than the last Swedish expansion project.

Dan Miller, Swedish chief operating officer, said the 65,000 square feet will create space for 40 additional beds.

“Plans are to start work in late 2014 or early 2015,” Miller said. “We expect to complete most of the outside work in about a year and move to inside renovation work by late 2016 or early 2017.”

The expansion means adding to the workforce, and Miller said the hospital expects to begin recruiting prospective employees in the next couple years to fill about 100 new jobs created by the project.

He said one focus of the project is expansion of Swedish neuroscience services, a growing service that provides tests and treatment for stroke patients and patients suffering from severe migraines, epilepsy or other neurological issues.

“The project will provide a new entrance and lobby for the neuroscience services and create additional space for them,” Miller said. “We also will be adding a 3T MRI which will provide advanced neurological imaging.”

Swedish was the first Rocky Mountain region hospital to receive primary stroke center designation in 2004, and in 2013, Swedish was the first hospital in the region to receive designation as a comprehensive stroke center.

Because Swedish is an acute inpatient rehabilitation facility, the project will improve the closed-circuit connection with 42 hospitals throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas.

“The connection allows our doctors to help with diagnosis of a case and, if necessary, the patient can be brought here for treatment,” Miller said. “Swedish is the hospital of choice for a steadily increasing number of patients. Our goal is to have facilities available to care for all patients now and in the future.”

Swedish also is the location of the Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility. The facility works closely with HealthONE's Spalding Rehabilitation Center, and shares the campus and collaborates with Craig Hospital, which is recognized as one of the major specialty facilities for patients with spinal cord and brain injuries.

White said the hospital is always upgrading its facilities. She said the $10 million major renovation of the fifth-floor Women's Services Department is about completed.