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County poised to break ground on medical campus

JENNIFER HARPER
summit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Summit County’s medical office building is getting even closer to reality with the groundbreaking a little over two weeks away.

County Commissioner Tom Long said it’s great to see the project finally come to fruition.

“(The medical campus) has been on people’s radars for three or four decades,” Long said.

The total estimated cost of the project is $19,950,117, which the county will borrow from a bank. The county is financing the construction of the building, but it intends to sell half the space to private-practice medical providers once development is complete.

The group of doctors, known as the Summit Medical Building, LLC, has submitted a letter of intent to purchase the medical office side of the space. The letter is not legally binding, but a contract is expected by mid-June.

The county will still pay for the Community Care Clinic side of the medical office building, estimated at $9,699,950, with funds from the November 2003 ballot question 1A, which county commissioners intended to fund “legacy projects” such as the clinic, the new recycling facility, water storage and open space.

The county has put out a request for proposal (RFP) to seven banks locally and in Denver for the loan. Proposals will be submitted to the county by 4 p.m. today.

County finance director Linda Gregory said the borrowed funds will not be considered debt but instead would be a lease-purchase.

She said when this option is selected, the county can borrow from a lender, and each year the Board of County Commissioners has the right to appropriate or not appropriate the money to pay back the borrowed funds.

The nuance in borrowing is meant to prevent a citizens’ vote on debt as otherwise mandated by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment.

The 1A mill levy generates about $1.6 million a year and sunsets in 2016. At the end of the levy’s 12-year period, county manager Ron Holliday expects the total amount generated to be around $31 million.

The county is developing the building for medical offices and the Community Care Clinic at the new St. Anthony Summit Medical Center site near Frisco.

The total size of the building will be 87,070 gross square feet with the county’s space accounting for 40,923 square feet.

The county is anticipating two medical-oriented nonprofits will be housed in the county-operated Community Care Clinic: Colorado West Mental Health and Bristlecone Health Services. The nonprofits will pay $11.25 per usable square foot per month for their space.

The two nonprofits and the County Coroner’s office will take up a floor and a third of the three-floor Community Care Clinic side.

Centura Health/St. Anthony Hospitals wants to open a training center for the new hospital, according to Holliday. The county has suggested that the space be leased from the Community Care Clinic.

The county and hospital officials are still discussing details on the possibility.

The building’s groundbreaking is set for 12:15 p.m. June 10 with the opening tentatively scheduled for Labor Day 2006.

Jennifer Harper can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at jharper@summitdaily.com.


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