Penrose-St. Francis
St. Francis Medical Center stands on Woodmen Road the north side of Colorado Springs.

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is shifting its plan to build a new medical campus to the city’s west in favor of looking up north.

“While the initial plan to replace Penrose Hospital with a new hospital on the hill [of Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard] was well informed at the time, the market has changed and it no longer would have addressed the projected growth and development for our region,” said Dr. Brian Erling, president and CEO of Penrose-St. Francis, in an email. “Building a medical campus in the area of projected population growth in our city is strategically stronger and will ensure that Penrose-St. Francis will continue to be our region’s leading health care system.”

He added there is evidence that indicates building on the previously planned 80-acres at Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street would have possibly decreased emergency medical services and walk-in volumes.

“To spend over half of a billion dollars to decrease our ability to execute on our mission doesn’t make sense,” Erling said.

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is purchasing a piece of land farther north where it will build a third medical campus, Erling said.

“We are in the final stages of due diligence on a piece of land better positioned for growth in the Northside of the city, with plans to close on that purchase in mid-December,” Erling said, but would not disclose the parcel’s location. “Coupled with our investment in sports medicine and performance at the new Hybl Center, we are excited to focus this new campus on orthopedic and spine care to ensure that the most advanced specialty care is available to our neighbors.”

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He would not disclose the purchase or development costs.

Construction for the previously planned medical campus was expected to be about $550 million.

The approximately 50-acre property at Fillmore Street has been sold back to Turtle Creek Grandview Office LLC, which has its principal office in Dallas and is controlled by Lyda Hill, for its original purchase price.

The adjacent Martin Marietta Materials Inc. asphalt plant land still belongs to the hospital system, Erling said, with no plans defined for it at this time.

Meanwhile, the change in plans now also includes “hundreds of millions of dollars” in renovations at Penrose Hospital on North Nevada Avenue.

“Penrose Hospital, a site where our ministry began when the Glockner Sanitarium first opened its doors in 1891, remains located in the center of population density for our city,” Erling said. “So, while we expand to meet the growth of the city, we are going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to modernize Penrose Hospital for the next 130 years of our ministry. We have a legacy of high acuity, tertiary-care at this campus that we will not abandon.”

As of now, Erling said there is no specific timeline for the project up north.

Over the next three years, he said Penrose-St. Francis also intends to grow its primary care footprint by adding more than 50 providers with new and convenient service locations.

“Along the same imperative, we are going to modernize and expand our urgent care platform to reach more of our community with cost effective, on-demand care,” Erling said.

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