Renovation of former Aspen ambulance building will free up accommodation for long-term employees


Aspen Valley Hospital plans to renovate the former Aspen Ambulance District building, which will result in greater availability of long-term housing for hospital staff, sources said this week.

The hospital on Wednesday agreed to pay Pitkin County nearly $529,000 for the deterioration of the building, which it will turn into about 12 temporary living quarters for visiting doctors, nurses and technicians, project manager Steve Selby said. AVH.

When completed, the short-term housing will open approximately the same number of housing units in the Aspen area that AVH owns and has been used for temporary quarters, for hospital staff members needing a long-term housing, he said.

“It’s a dream for us to have this available,” Selby said Thursday. “We are always looking for additional accommodation for our employees.

Aspen Valley Hospital has approximately 70 lodgings in the Roaring Fork Valley, including those at Castle Creek Meadows across from the hospital in Castle Creek Valley and others at Beaumont Lodge on the east side of Aspen , did he declare. However, it’s “becoming a recurring nightmare” to recruit employees amid an increasingly tight housing market, and more housing is continually needed, Selby said.

Although he said the hospital was not short of staff, numerous job openings were advertised on AVH’s website last week, from kitchen staff to nurses and doctors.

“It’s huge for us,” Selby said.

Pitkin County Commissioners met as the Aspen Ambulance District Board on Wednesday and approved AVH’s plans to purchase the old ambulance building – located on the hill just above the hospital – for $528,733. The district constructed the building in 1995 on property owned by the hospital and entered into a 50-year lease.

The deteriorating “barn” in the Aspen Ambulance District has been empty since 2019 and will be renovated into temporary living quarters for Aspen Valley Hospital staff. The building’s gutter, pictured near the center of the photo, recently fell (Jason Auslander/The Aspen Times).

The ambulance quarter, however, has long since outgrown the old ambulance barn, which has become too small to house modern ambulances and too dilapidated for staff. District paramedics and staff moved into a new $8 million building next to the Pitkin County Health and Human Services building across from the hospital in 2019.

Since then, the old ambulance “barn” has continued to deteriorate. The roof is down, the septic tanks and sewer lines need to be replaced, it doesn’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and just recently the gutter fell down, said Rich Englehart, deputy county manager by Pitkin.

“It’s a worn-out building,” Englehart told commissioners on Wednesday.

The money AVH will pay for the building will go into the county’s capital fund, county executive Jon Peacock said.

Once the building’s sale is official on April 13, AVH plans to move quickly with the renovations, Selby said.

“We’re going to hit it right away,” he said. “We hope this summer to get a permit and put it under construction as soon as possible.”

The building will be converted into 12 bedrooms with bathrooms and kitchenettes for staff coming from other regions to work for short periods. As of last week, it was still unclear how much the renovations would cost, he said.

“We know it’s going to be a huge investment,” Selby said. “But with the cost of employee housing here in town, it will definitely be a bargain.”

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