West Springs set to double size

Sharon Raggio, president and CEO of Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital, speaks to the standing-room-only crowd at the hospital’s official announcement of an expansion project and groundbreaking for the project Wednesday on the grounds of the mental health facility’s campus, 515 28 3/4 Road.

West Springs Hospital for psychiatric care broke ground on a new and larger facility Wednesday and is seeking the public’s help in funding the remainder of the project.

The $17.75 million, 63,000-square-foot new hospital at 515 28 3/4 Road will double the current capacity from 32 to 64 beds and provide relief for patients who are saddled on a wait list or have to go to another site that isn’t equipped to provide long-term mental health care.

West Springs Hospital, which works alongside Mind Springs Health, is a regional destination for the Grand Valley and patients from smaller surrounding communities for mental health needs.

“We serve the entire Western Slope of Colorado and our beds are full every day. That’s the problem we have,” said Kim Boe, executive vice president of West Springs Hospital. “Other folks who are of equal need and high risk have no place to go. They end up in places like St. Mary’s Hospital, Grand River Hospital and other facilities that provide what they can, but the psychiatric expertise is where we are. We want those patients and we don’t have room for them. These additional beds make that possible.”

The new hospital is slated to open either in December 2018 or January 2019. So far, the hospital has raised about $13.5 million of the $17.75 million needed to complete the project and is asking the public for donations. “We’ve been getting donations from foundations so we’re looking for the public to help us with the last stretch,” said Sharon Raggio, president and CEO of West Springs Hospital and Mind Springs Health.

The hospital has already received large gifts, including $2.5 million from St. Mary’s Meical Center and $2 million each from the Denver Foundation’s Colorado Health Access Fund and the Colorado Health Foundation. There was also a $1 million anonymous donation that kicked off the campaign about 18 months ago. The $2 million from the Denver Foundation is the largest-ever investment by the Colorado Health Access Fund.

The campaign to raise money for the hospital has been dubbed “Building Sanctuary, Rebuilding Lives,” and the hope is to have the remaining balance raised in the next six to nine months. People can track progress or donate at buildingsanctuary.org.

Beth Slifer is co-chairwoman of the “Building Sanctuary, Rebuilding Lives” campaign and spoke Wednesday of the importance of this facility in western Colorado and gratitude for the money raised so far.

“It’s such an incredibly important breakthrough for the Western Slope of Colorado. We’ve needed this for more years than the currently facility has been here,” Slifer said. “All of these donations should inspire and encourage others to give. But also what they do for us is they show what enormous recognition and credibility this facility has had and built over 10 or 11 years.”

Raggio said the hospital will demolish one of the two existing buildings once the new facility is complete, but there will be no reduction in service during construction. She said they broke ground before having the site fully funded because the need is there.

“We have a waitlist here of five to 22 people every single day,” Raggio said. “I think that’s the big takeaway. Every single day there’s a person who can’t access care.”


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