Christmas came early for Kaiser Permanente this year when it opened the doors to its new 275,000-square-foot, six-story, multi-specialty center.
The Lone Tree building, under construction for more than two years, welcomed its first patients Dec. 2.
The facility, located on Park Meadows Drive across from the Lincoln light rail station, brings about 20 specialty services, 45 doctors and 300 additional employees to serve its approximately 128,000 south metro area members.
“We’re bringing specialty care to where they live,” said Kaiser’s Dr. David Gladu, operations chief for surgical specialties and a longtime Lone Tree resident. “Up until now, most of our medical and surgical care was in downtown Denver. This will be much easier for patients.”
Kaiser began its search for land in the south metro area almost four years ago.
“This property wasn’t even for sale,” project manager Mike Schultz said, adding that the site’s 20-acre size, its scenic views to the west, and easy access to Interstate 25 made it an ideal location. Kaiser approached the landowner, who agreed to sell it.
“The drivers for this building were orthopedics, as well as the ability to do outpatient or day surgery,” Kaiser spokeswoman Amy Whited said.
The building also includes oncology and infusion, allergy, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecology, pain management, medical imaging, palliative care and many other services, including a pharmacy and optical center.
“With this building, mom could come in for an eye appointment, schedule an X-ray for a child and get lab work done,” Whited said. “You don’t have to drive across town anymore.”
The area for the Lone Tree Kaiser’s drug infusion center carefully was reserved for a first-floor, west-facing site.
“Those patients can be here from two to six hours,” Greg Mills, Kaiser’s south area administrator. “We gave them good real estate.”
An outdoor seating located a few steps from the infusion center is designed to provide a comfortable waiting area for friends and family members.
The effort to move away from the sterile atmosphere once common to hospitals and medical facilities is evident on every floor — from colorful accent walls and large, original murals to a whimsical, bicycle-themed sculpture that winds along the side of an open staircase.
Even on the garden level and in rooms that house MRI, CT and other scanners, architects found ways to add natural light. Mills said that helps patients relax during what typically are tension-producing procedures.
The building includes a garden level and five additional floors. The fifth is unfinished space, reserved for future growth.
The site also has room for two additional buildings and two parking structures; Kaiser has no timeline for any additional construction. Additional specialties, such as cardiology, endocrinology, neurology and dermatology, will be added during that second phase of development.
With the opening of the new building, Kaiser has closed its Yosemite Street offices, which for three years provided orthopedic specialty care and other limited services from a leased space.
Its landlocked Franklin Street facility in downtown Denver also has contributed to Kaiser’s multi-pronged recent expansion. In 2012, Kaiser opened the Fort Collins Medical Center and Loveland Medical Offices. In January 2014, it will open a new medical office building in Greeley.
Statewide, Kaiser serves about 545,000 members.