UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies plans major expansion

Investment will help meet growing demand for exceptional medical care in northern Colorado
Oct. 5, 2022
Rendering of hospital expansion
A rendering illustrates what the new tower at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies will look like.

UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR) in Loveland is planning a major expansion to meet the growing health care needs of northern Colorado.

The highlights of the expansion project include a new tower that will be built on the north side of the hospital, the creation of a comprehensive cancer center, an expanded emergency department and additional imaging and cardiac spaces. When complete, the project will increase the hospital’s bed capacity from 187 to 283 with room to grow up to 319 beds.

“We are excited to expand our offerings in one of the fastest-growing areas of the state and expand patients’ access to our nationally recognized specialists and clinical care teams,” said UCHealth President and CEO Elizabeth Concordia. “It is important for us that we continue to meet the needs of the community, both today and into the future.”

Growing needs

Weld and Larimer counties were among the top five counties for population growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In that time, Weld’s population grew more than 30 percent. Larimer grew nearly 20 percent. In part because of population growth, Colorado currently has fewer hospital beds per 1,000 residents than the U.S. average. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that U.S. states average 2.38 beds per 1,000 residents. Colorado has 1.91 beds, the 8th lowest number among all states and the District of Columbia.

“For several years, our hospitals in northern Colorado have been operating at or near full capacity, and this investment will allow us to continue to meet the needs of our growing community,” said Kevin Unger, the president and chief executive officer of the hospital. “In addition to an increase in patient bed capacity, we are thrilled to build a comprehensive cancer center and expand our cardiac and imaging services.”

Expansion plans

The $280 million project will include:

  • A five-story tower will serve trauma-surgical, medical-surgical and surgical-ICU inpatients, among others.
  • A cancer center on the first floors of both the north medical office building and the new tower. The new cancer center will feature high-dose radiation therapy, which patients currently travel to metro Denver to receive. It also will feature a new gynecological oncology clinic, a new radiation oncology program, including a linear accelerator, and additional medical oncology clinic and infusion space.
  • The emergency department will grow from 27 to 49 rooms and include a new entrance.
  • Two electrophysiology labs and two cardiac catheterization labs will be added to the south side of the existing hospital building.
  • Imaging will be expanded with additional CT, ultrasound and MRI services and an additional interventional radiology suite on the east side of the existing hospital building.
  • Parking will be expanded for patients and staff.

The project is currently in the design phase. UCHealth expects to break ground in late-2023. The cancer center is expected to begin seeing patients in mid-2024, and the new tower is expected to open in 2026.

High level of care

The hospital, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, was recently designated a Level I trauma center, making it the first and only hospital in northern Colorado with the highest classification for adult trauma care. Level I recognizes the hospital can treat severe and complex injuries, giving residents of northern Colorado rapid access to top-level emergency and trauma care close to home. MCR also is certified by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. This classification is awarded to programs that have the staff, resources and processes in place to deliver fast, advanced care to stroke patients.

In 2020, Fortune/IBM Watson Health named the hospital as a 100 Top Hospital. In 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked the hospital as the No. 2 hospital in Colorado. The news outlet also recognized MCR as a high performer for abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, heart attack, aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), maternity care, kidney failure, back surgery (neuro and orthopedics), stroke, hip fracture, hip replacement, pneumonia and urology.

About the author

Kelly Tracer is a media relations specialist at UCHealth, based in northern Colorado. For nearly 20 years, she worked as a newspaper reporter, editor and designer before diving into the world of health care communications.

She believes there is an amazing story inside everyone and considers it an honor to get to meet and work with so many extraordinary people – patients, families, providers, volunteers and staff – every day. She is also fascinated by health care innovation and programs that empower and inspire people and families to live healthier lives.

A native of Nebraska, Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She and her husband have two children and enjoy paddle boarding all summer and skiing all winter.

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