March 2024

UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies

In the late 1990s, JE Dunn Construction was inching its way westward from Kansas City. While JE Dunn had previously secured several ongoing clients and work programs in Colorado, the Denver office officially established residency in 1998 and one job permanently put JE Dunn on the map in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

The Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado, was the largest hospital ever built at the time by JE Dunn, and the most expensive per square foot built by the company. In addition, it was the largest building project the city of Loveland had ever seen.

JE Dunn was selected as the construction manager and general contractor for the six-story, 600,000 square foot hospital, serving patients from northeastern Colorado, Wyoming, and western Nebraska.

“We probably weren’t the odds-on favorite to get the work,” said Jason Oltman, who served as a senior project manager at the time of construction. “We talk about the half-court shot at the buzzer, and it went in. We were awarded the project based on a strong team and solid building strategy, we hit the ground running and went to work.”

The hospital system wished to expand into Loveland and the rest of northern Colorado. Work began in April 2004, with a completion date aptly timed for Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2007 for the hospital which specializes in heart and trauma care.

“Being in Loveland, Colorado, there was some significance behind that date of completion,” Oltman said.

The architect designed the building’s exterior to be constructed of brick, native sandstone and other materials and to have an open fresh feel and look. Materials also included a smooth, non-reflective metal panel system that would accent the building’s vertical forms. Nearly all patients have a view of either the mountains or the various courtyards surrounding the facilities. This promotes the healing environment and aids in each patient’s well-being.

The concrete structure was JE Dunn Kansas City’s bread and butter, allowing the Colorado team to self-perform the concrete, rough carpentry and hospital specialty items, taking Kansas City operations westward.

In addition, the project secured good partnerships, kicking off a lot of long-term relationships with trade partners in the region.

“As for self-perform, we provided the project a turnkey package with JE Dunn forces performing the vertical form and placing,” said Jason Crookshank, senior project manager during construction. “We saw an opportunity to work with some of the best concrete trade partners in the front range for the remainder of the work and we’re still working with a lot of those same trade partners to this day.  It was a really great opportunity to build those partnerships, learning through the process who the partners are that we want to work with going forward.”

While not the only job in the region, the Medical Center of the Rockies served as a solid anchor for the Denver office and was a good proving ground for the team, Oltman said.

“We were lucky to have the project at the time that we did,” Oltman said. “It was right at the cusp of the economic downturn.”

JE Dunn was able to manage the client’s money and put budgeted funds back into the program, including an off-site roundabout that was necessary and a future expansion shell over the existing emergency department, saving money and making the addition less intrusive on future operations.