Vail Town Council to weigh more funding for study of town hall, hospital redevelopment

By Real Vail
October 14, 2011

Redevelopment of the Vail Municipal Building site to accommodate a medical facility and retain town offices appears to be feasible, based on initial findings.

Project representatives will present an update to the Vail Town Council at its Tuesday, Oct. 18 meeting with a request to release funding for another phase of study. The item is listed eighth on the meeting agenda which begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Vail Town Council Chambers.

The potential redevelopment has been under study since May when the Town Council authorized $33,000 to share the cost of an initial space assessment in a joint initiative with Vail Valley Medical Center, Howard Head Sports Medicine, Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute.

The results identified space needs for each of the entities which include 55,551 square feet for a new medical office building and 21,850 square feet for municipal offices. The potential redevelopment would also include parking for 220 vehicles below-grade and a pedestrian bridge connection over South Frontage Road to Vail Valley Medical Center from the office building. As proposed, the Vail Police Department and E-911 Center would remain in their current space, while the existing helipad would be relocated.

The redevelopment would replace the current Town of Vail administration offices and the Community Development Department building. Most of the facilities on the site were built in the early 1970s and have had multiple adaptations to allow for expanded services and technology changes.

Today, over 100 employees work at the town's municipal site, including the police department and E-911 dispatch staffs. According to Doris Kirchner, president and chief executive officer of Vail Valley Medical Center, the new space would allow Vail Valley Medical Center to expand into existing square feet and provide additional medical services to Vail's residents and guests.

In addition to the Steadman Clinic, the new office building would be the home for the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, allowing world-class researchers to better perform and share medical advances currently being developed.

The economic impacts of Vail Valley Medical Center and the Steadman Clinic have been well quantified over the years, according to an economic impact study completed by BBC Research and Consulting of Denver in April 2010.

The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute provide year-round employment for over 120 employees. In addition, the hospital employs 584 workers. Employees and patients generate year-round customers for local businesses, according to the BBC report.

During Tuesday's meeting, the Town Council will be asked to consider spending up to $99,982 to cover one-third of the cost for the next phase of feasibility study. Based upon the initial findings, the staff is recommending approval of the request to further quantify the feasibility and cost of redeveloping the municipal site in partnership with the medical community.

If funding is approved, next steps would include meeting with the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding use of state-owned right of way and South Frontage Road improvements, utility verification, soils investigation, further analysis of site access options, and a schematic architectural design. Vail's Triumph Development, the local group that completed the initial study, would be retained to complete this next scope of work.

For more information about the study, contact George Ruther. To forward comments to the Town Council in advance of the meeting, email or call 479-1860, ext. 8 to leave a message for the Town Council.

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