St. Francis Medical Center begins expansion project to care for future generations

April 1, 2017

Since its grand opening on Aug. 8, 2008, St. Francis Medical Center (SFMC) has exceeded expectations and risen to meet the health care challenges of the ever-growing Colorado Springs community. Always committed to evolve with the health care demands of the region’s future generations, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services has begun a long-awaited expansion project to SFMC. The SFMC expansion – expected to be an investment of about $100 million and to be completed in early 2019 – includes the construction of 168,000 square feet of additional hospital space as a four-level addition on the west side of the campus. The project will mainly focus on expanding the Emergency Department, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Surgical Unit. 


“This expansion project at St. Francis Medical Center has been sought after and necessary for about four years and we couldn’t be more excited and ready to grow and continue to meet the challenges of our equally growing community,” said Mark Hartman, chief administrative officer at SFMC. “The Emergency Department needed more beds as patient volumes have doubled since 2009 to 53,000 visits per year, making it the second-busiest ED in the 17-hospital Centura Health system.” 


Patient volumes in every department of SFMC have steadily increased in the past decade, as the population across Colorado Springs and much of southern Colorado has surged. To alleviate overcrowding in the ED, part of the Imaging Department was converted to a fast-track area for patients with less severe conditions. The expansion will more than double the number of beds in the ED from 23 to 48 and will make space for an eight-bed pediatric emergency room. The planning of the ED, explained Clinical Manager Diane Villavicencio, included clinical staff from the beginning to find the best possible design model.


“Our primary goal was to find the right model for our ED that would best serve the community, as well as the clinical staff,” said Villavicencio. “We toured several EDs, both in Colorado and across the country, took elements from each and created a patient flow model that fits the needs of our patients, associates and EMS partners. We got input from EMS, radiology, respiratory, trauma and even security.” 


The Level III NICU at SFMC has outgrown its original location, initially planned with 25 neonatal bays and one neonatologist physician when it opened in 2008. After nearly a decade, the NICU has become the leading facility to care for premature babies and babies with severe medical problems in Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak region and across the eastern plains and southern Colorado as a regional referral center. The expansion will increase the number of beds from 25 to 46 and will include unfinished space that could accommodate more NICU beds if needed. 


A strong motivator in the design of the NICU expansion, said Candace Garko, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services for SFMC, was keeping families together as much as possible. The NICU expansion will feature all private rooms with sleeping accommodations for family members, a family pre-discharge room to support parents before they leave the hospital and a NICU family lounge where patients’ relatives can interact and support other families in similar circumstances. 


“To me that’s huge, being able to provide neonatal care from the moment the mother arrives at our hospital, to well after they’ve been discharged. We are ready to provide care to all our patients until they no longer need it,” Garko said. 


Surgery volumes have more than doubled at SFMC since 2009, thanks in great part to the substantial increase in orthopedic procedures. SFMC has the largest benign gynecologic robotic surgery program in Colorado and the expansion will create two more operating rooms with shelled space for up to seven more. Once complete, Penrose-St. Francis will add 50-75 more employees to operate the SFMC expansion. 


“Penrose-St. Francis has a rich, 130-year-history of caring for and evolving with Colorado Springs and all our surrounding communities and this expansion has been created with that in mind,” Hartman said. “We will continue to provide the world-class health care that we are recognized and known for, while readying ourselves to meet the challenges of our thriving and growing region.”




$100M investment

168,000 sq. ft.
Surgery volume has doubled since 2009

53,000 ED visits per year

ED beds growing 23 to 48

NICU beds growing 25 to 46

SFMC will add
50-75 employees




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