St. Francis Medical Center

The planned hospital will relieve pressure on Penrose-St. Francis Health Services’ other facilities, including St. Francis Medical Center (pictured) on Woodmen Road.

The area around Interquest Parkway and Interstate 25 is a hotbed of development in north Colorado Springs, where hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested.

One notable project is a 72-bed orthopedic and spine hospital planned on a 57.8-acre parcel owned by Centura Health on the southeast corner of the Interquest and I-25 intersection.

The $150 million hospital, which is in the design and planning stage, is projected to start receiving patients in 2023.

The hospital will open with 48 equipped beds and will open the other 28 beds when needed, said Dr. Brian Erling, president and chief executive officer of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services.

It will have 10 operating rooms and a 12-bed, full-service emergency department to serve the growing population in the area.

“Having a full-service ER that’s accessible to the interstate is a nice benefit of the location,” Erling said. “The strategy behind why we’re doing it is to grow and to meet the community health needs up in the north and northeast, which we felt is where all the growth is.”

Erling said the hospital will have “the most progressive consumer- and clinician-facing IT platform. It will be so far ahead of our own facilities and, I think it’s pretty safe to say, any other health care facility in Colorado.”

Besides a state-of-the art electronic medical records system for clinicians, the hospital will integrate advanced digital solutions for patients so that they will be able to participate in their healing process.

“They’re going to have iPads, screens and cameras on the wall so that they can communicate with providers,” Erling said.

The hospital will be located on 19 acres in the northwestern side of the parcel, along with a medical office building and ambulatory surgery center, said Bill Lueck, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services director of new development.

There is also space along Interquest for health-related retail outlets, Erling said.

The hospital features a unique, arc-shaped design that will be welcoming to the community.

“We initially designed a building that could be expanded to add another 200-plus general, acute-care hospital beds to the market,” Erling said.

That turned out to be too expensive, but the site has lots of room for expansion, Lueck said.

“When the community need is such that we need more beds, then we would build a full-service hospital right next to it,” Erling said. He expects that need is about a decade away.

The new hospital also will relieve pressure on Penrose-St. Francis Health Services’ other facilities.

While not all orthopedic and spine services will be moved to the new hospital from St. Francis Medical Center and Penrose Hospital, “adding these beds at this hospital will allow us to have those patients cared for there, which frees up a bunch more medical-surgical and intensive care beds at our other two campuses,” Erling said.

Pushing some of the elective procedures to the new hospital will permit growth of the cardiac, trauma and neuroscience service lines at Penrose, which has no room for expansion on its 19-acre campus, he said.

Erling and Lueck expect the single-specialty focus will make the new hospital a standout.

“Like anything else in life, when you do a lot of one thing, you get really, really good at it," Lueck said. “And that will be the case in this specialized hospital.”

Read more about commercial development in north Colorado Springs in the Feb. 19 edition of the Business Journal.