Jun 21, 2012 6:52 PM by Andy Koen
Seventy gold shovels may seem like overkill for a groundbreaking ceremony, but if you ask UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak it's symbolic of the cooperation it took to get construction going on the new Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences.
"This really is the beginning of the future, but it's also meeting current needs," she said.
The $18.5 million facility will house a mixture of college classes and public health clinics. Those clinics will make up the new Lane Family Senior Health Center named after donor Margot Lane and the Lane Family Foundation who contributed $4 million to the project.
Mrs. Lane told the assembled crowd during the ceremony the speed with which the project came together was surprising and even magical.
"This collaboration between the private sector, the city, the university, Peak Vista, is truly exciting," Lane said.
The center will be made up of clinics operated by Peak Vista Community Health Centers, the Gerontology Center, the CU Aging Center and Beth El College of Nursing and Health Science which will operate a Trauma Health and Hazards Center.
Gerontology Center Director Sara Qualls the clinics will give future nurses and technicians who are studying at UCCS a chance to gain work experience while providing local seniors with treatment for both the body and the mind.
"The Lane Center is designed to allow community organizations and university organizations to co-locate so that they can begin to work more closely together."
At four stories and 54,000 square feet, there will plenty of extra room to hold a new medical school as promised by the University of Colorado Health System as part of a long term lease deal for Memorial Hospital. City Council has accepted the offer and is asking voters to approve the deal this fall.
"They could put that medical school in here tomorrow and I'd be happy," joked council president Scott Hente. "But you know, obviously there has to be some groundwork that's laid for that and I think that this lays that ground work, it just further cements the relationship between the city and the university system."
Construction is scheduled to begin in September and is expected to take around 15 months to complete.