Children's Hospital Colorado

Building Our Hospital

A view looking up at the entrance to Children's Hospital Colorado, which is a brown building with lots of glass windows and the balloon boy sign on the front.
Children's Hospital Colorado is located near the intersection of I-225 and East Colfax Avenue.

Bright. Warm. Radiant. Positive. Wonderful. Healing. These are all words that have been used to describe Children's Hospital Colorado that opened on September 29, 2007.

Decision to build anew

For nearly 100 years, Children's Hospital Colorado grew in our location on 19th Avenue through remodeling and additions. We're proud of our history in downtown Denver and when faced with the need to grow even more, we thought long and hard about one thing: What's best for kids? That question led us to the desire to build a new state-of-the-art facility eight miles east of our old location. That desire became reality nine years after planning began thanks to the generous contributions and support of our community. The new Children's Hospital Colorado is literally your hospital.

Benefit of being on a medical campus

For the first time, we have one location for our complex care, research and education expertise. The proximity of Children's Hospital Colorado to the University of Colorado Hospital and School of Medicine allows for greater collaboration in care and research. This was a rare opportunity to start with a blank canvas and build a facility that best meets the needs of kids throughout the region. For parents and their kids this means better access to the best care for children.

Our hospital anchors our entire network of pediatric health care services. This network includes many care centers; a downtown presence in Saint Joseph Hospital and a resource-rich online presence. Additionally, our physicians and health-care professionals continue their outreach to areas outside the Denver metro area through personal visits, telemedicine, Parent Advice Line and web-based services.

Building from the ground up

From the beginning of our planning process, careful thought went into making certain our new facility was designed for delivering the most effective and most healing care to our patients and families. For example, the new facility is 73% larger than the previous one, coming in at 1.44 million square feet. It houses approximately 45 Emergency Department exam rooms, 25 operating and procedure rooms, 20 radiology rooms and 66 other clinical care settings. But it not just about the numbers here.

Children's Hospital Colorado has been built to give patients and families a feeling of support, welcome and comfort. Five different color palettes are used, each to create a specific feeling or mood. We've carefully considered how spaces will be experienced. From every open space to every clinic and corridor, we've considered how light, touch, sound, taste, scent, air, gardens and spirit will affect the experiences of patients, families and staff.

Hospital highlights

Boettcher Atrium

A long view of the Children's Hospital Colorado Boettcher Atrium that has a mostly blue floor with yellow, black and green paintings, glass windows on each of the floor walkways and a large white wall on the right side with blue and green squares painted on it.

The 11,000-square-foot, four-story Boettcher Atrium is the heart of the building. The atrium-made possible by a $5 million gift from the Boettcher Foundation-is designed by "zones" to accommodate activities that happen in a hospital's entry. Patients, families and visitors enter through the information zone. Further into the space, hospital activities and events have a natural home. A quiet respite zone outside our Family Health Library provides comfortable furniture in a homelike space.

Emergency Department

Our Emergency Department (ED) is equipped to handle any pediatric emergency, with different size equipment to accommodate kids of all ages. Children's Hospital Colorado is the only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in the region and our new hospital enhances our ED services. Every kind of specialist required for emergencies is available 24/7.

Our ED encompasses 49 clinical rooms, including an observation unit with five large private rooms with bathrooms for children who need to be observed for less than 24 hours; and a separate psychiatric area to handle the special needs of psychiatric patients; and a section of the department is fitted with a separate water, waste and air system that can be sealed off in case of large-scale emergencies.

Private Patient Rooms

Single-occupancy rooms reduce stress on kids and families. Research shows that single-occupancy rooms minimize the spread of infection help kids heal faster by reducing noise. With few exceptions, patient rooms in our new hospital are designed for one child. Big windows let in lots of natural light for the patient and family to enjoy.

Research shows that having family nearby helps kids cope better with hospital stays by providing support and positive distractions. Each room has space and sleeping accommodations for two family members, lots of storage, a desk, data ports and flat screen TV's so families can comfortably stay with children. Internet connections and on-demand movies and video games help keep kids entertained.

Sophisticated technology is built in so care can be given at the bedside, rather than moving patients unnecessarily. At the same time, the home-like feel eases stress and makes families feel comfortable. No procedures are done in the room so that the child associates the room with rest, play and comfort.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Research demonstrates that these special patients are especially vulnerable to harmful effects of loud noise and bright lights. We've taken care to ensure that the "home" for our most delicate babies, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, is softly lit and quiet - you could call it "womblike." Research shows that low light levels, quiet and privacy improve infants' outcomes.

Gardens and Parks

An aerial view of the terrace cafeteria seating area at Children's Hospital Colorado. It has several silver metal tables with silver metal umbrellas lined up next to a cement path that crosses through the open green space in front of the hospital.

A 6.6-acre greenway on the southwest corner of Children's Hospital Colorado property is designed to be a park with walkways, alcove gardens, lawn areas and play areas. Studies show that time spent in gardens improves mood, reduces stress and increases feelings of wellness in children. Our Garden of Hope located just outside the chapel features a playful labyrinth maze kids will enjoy. There is plenty of green space outside the Fresh Market Place for kids to run and play if they wish to. An outdoor family courtyard is also located on the third floor opposite the Heart Institute. These spaces provide parents with an opportunity to take a breath and find some space as well.

The abundance of outdoor space is an acknowledgement of the late Caroline Rickenbaugh's commitment to family-centered care. Caroline, a long-time Children's donor and volunteer leader, knew firsthand that families dealing with the hospitalization of a very sick child need places to retreat. The park will honor Caroline, her husband Kent and son Bart, who passed away in 2001.

Color Therapy

A wide body of emerging research demonstrates the impact color can have on the healing process. We incorporated this research throughout the hospital by using five different color palettes; each one using colors to achieve a desired effect. For example:

  • Green represents balance; it also has a cling effect and increases sensitivity.
  • Blue is relaxing and has one of the most powerful healing effects on children.
  • Yellow re-awakens enthusiasm for life and can help counteract depression.
  • Violet is cleansing on physical and spiritual levels. It is good to use for cancerous conditions. Violet can be used to stimulate inspiration and humility.
  • Orange is the color of joy, wisdom and creativity. Orange stimulates feelings of belonging.

Our people

But a building can do only so much. Our staff is the cornerstone of our outstanding care, and they continue to deliver the compassionate care that has established our reputation as a leading children's hospital in the nation. Staff members were involved in all aspects of planning the new hospital and have been a critical resource in making the transition to our new location a success.

An opportunity to build a new state-of-the art hospital occurs only once in a lifetime. We're honored to have been trusted with the creation of a new children's hospital that will benefit the lives of children and families for generations.