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  • on 30.11.2010
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CRMC to start construction in Sept. [Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne]

Nov30

Dec. 01CHEYENNE Construction of a multi-million dollar expansion at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is scheduled to start in September 2011.
The project, estimated to cost $70 million to $75 million, will feature a new six-floor patient care tower. The tower will house a new emergency department that is nearly twice as big as the current one, progressive and intensive-care units and a mother-baby (maternity) and gynecology unit.
The patient care tower will be located just west of the current emergency department at the emergency room parking area off Warren Avenue. Four floors will be for patient care and two floors will be for mechanical space.
The expansion also will include a free-standing, separate new cancer treatment center. That center will offer all cancer-related resources in one place.
The first task of construction will be building a parking area near the site of the former St. Mary’s School gym. The hospital recently tore down the gym, which it had used for storage.
The hospital will build at least 60 parking spaces there for state employees to replace the ones being lost by the addition of the new tower, said David Squires, CRMC’s chief information officer and vice president of support services. There will be additional spaces for hospital employees.
The medical center will build the spaces because of a land swap with the state. The land where state employees now park will become part of the new patient care tower.
Conceptual plans for the first phase of expansion are almost completed, Squires said. Doctors and staff took part in the planning.
Two community members will be involved in the next phase, which is to develop schematic designs.
CRMC’s board of directors decided in June to expand at the current hospital site at 214 E. 23rd St. The board rejected a plan to build outpatient services west of town on Happy Jack Road.
Some people who live near the hospital opposed the decision by the hospital to stay put, citing traffic and other concerns.
Officials hope to complete the new parking area by March 2012. They then will break ground on the patient care tower, Squires said. Construction will take 15 to 18 months.
Construction on the cancer center will start in March 2012, or sooner depending on the location. A decision on a location is likely to come within the month.
Possible locations include the block where the old St. Mary’s gym once stood, a block north and east of the old gym or an area across the street near the hospital entrance.
The project will go through a planned unit development process with the city, Squires said.
CRMC formed a community engagement committee to get neighborhood views on the expansion. The committee will address needed changes.
Committee members include CRMC board members and employees, Laramie County commissioners and three neighborhood representatives Gene Palen, Jerry Zellars and Jan Nelson-Schroll.
Neighbors have concerns about the project’s impact on traffic safety, congestion and on historic preservation, based on their comments during a neighborhood tour. They also worry about increased noises and dust from construction.
Nelson-Schroll said she hopes the committee will continue throughout the expansion.
"Originally, the hospital made these expansion plans without consulting its neighbors, so I am hoping this committee and other venues will open up the lines of communication with the executive board," she said.
Quite a few area residents think the hospital should consider expanding west where it bought property, she added.
There are concerns from neighbors that future expansion will demolish two blocks of historic districts, she said.
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Copyright (c) 2010, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne
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