A salute to expansion at Memorial Hospital North

More than 200 people attend 'Topping Off' ceremony marking construction milestone
February 7th, 2018
A woman signs her name to a beam placed on an expansion of Memorial Hospital North during a 'Topping Off' ceremony on Wednesday.
A woman signs her name to a beam placed on an expansion of Memorial Hospital North during a ‘Topping Off’ ceremony on Wednesday.

Construction crews from GE Johnson, community leaders and UCHealth employees celebrated a significant construction milestone Wednesday in the expansion of UCHealth Memorial Hospital North.

More than 200 people gathered on a sun-splashed Colorado day to celebrate the achievement by signing their names to a steel beam, etching their enthusiasm for the project into history, before crews hoisted it to the top of a four-story building.

During a ‘Topping Off’ ceremony for the $128 million project, Joel Yuhas, president and CEO of UCHealth Memorial Hospital; and Jim Johnson, CEO of GE Johnson Construction, welcomed the crowd,

Construction crews prepare to lift a beam to the top of a four-story building under construction at Memorial Hospital North.
Construction crews prepare to lift a beam to the top of a four-story building under construction at Memorial Hospital North.

The hospital is adding new beds for Women’s Services and additional access for patients in the Emergency Department. Children’s Hospital Colorado is also building a new hospital on the campus of MHN, located in a fast-growing area of northern Colorado Springs.

“Groundbreaking for this project occurred about 16 months ago, in September 2016. We’re now past the midway point,” said Joel Yuhas, president and CEO of Memorial Hospital. “In a little more than a year from now, we expect to have our new tower open to patients. Every detail in this project has been designed with patient care as the priority, and I’m confident we’ll be able to provide the very best experience and care for our patients.’’

UCHealth Memorial Hospital President and CEO Joel Yuhas signs his named to a steel beam as part of a celebration marking a milestone in construction at Memorial Hospital North.
UCHealth Memorial Hospital President and CEO Joel Yuhas signs his named to a steel beam as part of a celebration marking a milestone in construction at Memorial Hospital North.

Yuhas thanked GE Johnson crews for their work on the project, which is on time. The expansion, increasing the number of beds from 81 to 123, is expected to open in Spring 2019.

“You have done an amazing job and you have been amazing partners to allow us to make history today,’’ Yuhas said.

Johnson, who has been to a number of such ceremonies over the years said: “I’ve been to a lot of topping off ceremonies in February, and to my knowledge, you’ve got the best weather going.’’

Some of the features of the expansion:

  • Eight additional rooms – including two trauma suites – to the Emergency Department, along with an additional CT scanner.
  • An increase in operating rooms from six to eight, with room to add another two.
  • Expands pharmacy services to include 24/7 outpatient pharmacy services.
  • New four-story tower includes 40 inpatient beds dedicated to Women’s Services. Tower will include labor/delivery beds, postpartum beds and two cesarean section suites.
  • Expansion adds about 130,000 square feet to existing 230,000-square-foot This project follows other UCHealth investments including a cardiac catheterization lab and radiation oncology building. The UCHealth Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital North now provides clinical trials and other advanced treatments including stereotactic radiosurgery capabilities, a treatment used to reach tumors that are inoperable or difficult to treat. As part of UCHealth, the new cancer center offers access to Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center program – one of only 47 in the United States.

MHN opened as a small, community hospital in April 2007 and has since transformed into a full-service hospital. The design of the expansion will complement plans by Children’s Hospital Colorado to build a full-service pediatric hospital on the UCHealth Memorial North campus. The hospitals will collaborate to ensure the community has access to advanced adult and pediatric care on the same campus, and both projects are expected to be completed in 2018 or early 2019.

About the author

Erin Emery is editor of UCHealth Today, a hub for medical news, inspiring patient stories and tips for healthy living. Erin spent years as a reporter for The Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Springs Sun. She was part of a team of Denver Post reporters who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting.

Erin joined UCHealth in 2008, and she is awed by the strength of patients and their stories.