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Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center reached another milestone on Saturday, with the formal grand opening of its new Outpatient Pavilion. The formal grand opening came 21 months after ground-breaking for the new facility, and CEO Bob Morasko said seeing it come to fruition was gratifying.

Morasko says the facility makes him proud. “As a CEO, you’re extremely proud of the success and of this building and what it represents. I think the community is going to be well-served for the next 50 to 100 years with this building.”

HRRMC CEO Bob Morasko smiles as Board President Debbie Farrell cuts the ribbon for the grand opening of the hospital’s Outpatient Pavilion with other officials, including the Salida Chamber of Commerce Vacarros. To the right of Farrell are board members Tom Eve and Dr. Harry Payton. Photo by Dan Smith.

“This building is a community-owned building, it’s a community-owned hospital and this community owns this asset, and there is nothing in the region that compares to this hospital and this pavilion at any level,” he said, adding; “This is a showpiece not just for rural Colorado and Front Range Colorado, it’s a showpiece for the United States.”

And he was quick to share credit with all the stakeholders behind the project.

“Everybody in this organization made tremendous sacrifices – all of the staff, the medical staff, the vice presidents, the hospital board, the administration, made tremendous sacrifices to get this done. First of all, we had to prove to the community and to the board that this was financially feasible; so we built the programs before we built the pavilion, but now the pavilion’s here, it’s going to be full and it’s outstanding.”

Established in 1885 as the Denver and Rio Grande Hospital for railroad workers on First Street, the facility was sold to local leaders in 1962, and changed again when the hospital district was formed in 1976. It became Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in 1989 reflecting the area served.

Visitors to the HRRMC Outpatient Pavilion June 1 grand opening viewed the expanded Physical Therapy Department, which features machines for cardiac and other rehabilitation,
with views of the Sawatch Range through floor-to-ceiling windows. Photo by Dan Smith.

A new state-of-the-art medical campus was built at the present site on Highway 291 and opened April 1, 2008. As demand for services has grown in Chaffee and Fremont counties and the San Luis Valley, HRRMC expanded services into several facilities.

The construction of the new pavilion combines more than a dozen medical specialties under the same roof, improving patient access and coordination of medical care.

Additional medical services including ENT, Audiology and others will move into their new quarters later this summer.

Another major addition soon to be completed is the hangar and crew living facilities for REACH Air Medical Services on the campus. On-site quarters will be available for the helicopter crew including a nurse, paramedic and the pilot, making quick patient transport available for patients who need to go the Front Range.

The grand opening culminated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., followed by refreshments and cake for those in attendance in the expanded cafeteria.

The event was held simultaneously with the hospital’s Health Fair, providing free or low-cost medical tests for residents while sponsoring tours of the new three-story, 50,000 square-foot facility. The Health Fair featured testing and information including blood pressure, body in balance, body composition, cardiopulmonary, height/weight (BMI), nutrition, oral health and skin.