By this time next year, the Tri-Lakes YMCA in north El Paso County will have a new addition and an expanded purpose.
Thanks to a partnership between the Y, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services and Wisconsin-based Boldt Company, a 50,000-square foot addition to the Tri-Lakes YMCA will include both urgent care and primary care offices, as well as space to lease to other doctors or health-related groups.
For months, Penrose-St. Francis had toyed with the idea of adding a clinic in Monument, but couldn’t find the perfect location. Boldt officials then approached the hospital about building a new clinic, which would be leased back to Penrose. Boldt brought in the YMCA, and Penrose officials agreed with the idea.
“We didn’t want to be in a strip mall,” said Penrose-St. Francis COO Jamie Smith. “We wanted to be somewhere that was easy to access, where we would be very visible. And we wanted to continue our focus on healthy neighborhoods. This project accomplishes all of that — and more.”
Dan Dummermuth, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region, said the project also fit in with the Y’s mission for holistic health.
“We’ve always had a holistic approach — spirit, mind and body,” he said. “This just continues that mission. We have about a 28 percent absorption rate in the Monument area, so this will help increase that, and give the community there access to care.”
The health village is the first Boldt project in Colorado, but the company is constructing a full-service hospital in Laramie, Wyo., said Jacob Garro, director of finance for the private, family owned corporation headquartered in Appleton, Wis.
“This is all we do, really,” he said. “We build health care buildings in communities, and we’ve been pretty successful.”
Boldt has been around for 124 years, he said, and has projects around the country. It will own the building, and Penrose will lease half of it for its urgent-care space.
This is going to be more like a community gathering spot. It won’t be medicinal in feel.”
– Jacob Garro, Boldt Co.
Boldt will be responsible for leasing out the other half.
“We’re taking the risk on this,” Garro said. “But we’re confident that it will be accepted. We’ve talked with local physicians and other groups — and we’re building the design around what they say is going to work.”
Health care reform and the focus on preventive care means that Boldt is not only building full-service hospitals, but wellness clinics.
“This is a good match, because these partners understand the writing on the wall,” Garro said. “They know what’s ahead, and they’re moving out of the hospital and into the community to meet the challenge.”
One of the recent changes to the design of the new space is a two-story atrium that will have a different feel from a typical doctor’s office, Garro said. He’s talked with restaurants about opening a healthy-living cafe and with other companies to stock a juice bar.
“This is going to be more like a community gathering spot,” he said. “It won’t be medicinal in feel. It’ll be more like a retail space.”
It’s a look that Smith says more hospitals are moving toward.
“We know that people respond better in warmer, friendlier atmospheres,” he said. “And we think this is a right step in that direction.”
The YMCA has partnered with Penrose before, on a physical and occupational therapy clinic at the Briargate Y that lasted for 15 years.
“Penrose moved it when they opened St. Francis Hospital nearby (at Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road),” Dummermuth said. “That made sense for them to do that. We’re happy we have a chance to do this again. And the Tri-Lakes community has really embraced the YMCA since we opened the facility in 2008. It’s become a real community center.”
The new health village will assist the YMCA in its baisc goals: youth development, social responsibility and healthy living.
“This does all three of those,” he said. “It’s a hub for health care. It’s a way to move the YMCA mission forward.”
And since the YMCA is already a big part of many people’s lives — swimming lessons, sports teams, yoga and exercise classes — it makes sense to add another level of health care to the package, Dummermuth said.
“Our organization looks at serving,” he said. “And we’re pretty darn good at it in some areas, and in others we need to partner. This is a complete circle of care. We have 126 years of experience in what we do, but there’s always room to do more.”
And why Monument?
“It’s a growing area,” Smith said. “And not many doctors or primary care centers are up there. I-25 is their lifeline, no matter which direction they go on it. We needed to offer something more to the community there.”
Penrose takes the lead
Penrose’s half of the new building will be an “amalgamation of services,” Smith said.
“We’ll have urgent care, primary care, imaging services, rehabilitation and occupational medicine and labs available there,” he said. “We really see this as an outpatient hub.”
Penrose will have about 120 people working at the facility when it’s complete. Some of those will be new jobs, and some will be transferred from other locations, he said.
“The general rule is that you have two to two and a half jobs per 1,000 square feet,” Garro said. “So there will be a number of new jobs for the area.”
Penrad Imaging also will open new facilities in the center, Smith said, adding, “Ideally, we’ll attract some other partners to round out the organic use of the building for the community.”
Housing the clinic at the Y gives people access to different kinds of health care services, Dummermuth said.
“Here’s an example: An expectant mother can exercise at the Y, check in with a doctor of a pediatrician, attend a kitchen demonstration on how to cook more healthy foods for the family,” he said. “And after the baby is born, well-baby visits and post-natal exercises classes are in the same location.”