The Origin of the University of Colorado Hospital

Honoring the People Who Created What We've Inherited

In 1877, the University of Colorado opened in Boulder.

In 1883, the University of Colorado in Boulder established Colorado's second medical school — the University of Colorado Department of Medicine and Surgery.

In 1888, the University of Colorado Department of Medicine and Surgery moved into its own building, Medical Hall, which had been built on the Boulder campus at a cost of $2,540.00. There were 29 medical students during the 1889-1890 school year, 18 of them from Colorado.

University Hospital, Boulder

In 1898, a new $6,000, forty-bed hospital opened on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.

In 1898, the University of Colorado College of Nursing opened in Boulder.

Decommissioning the Boulder Campus Hospital

In 1920, because Boulder's University Hospital was no longer large enough to meet the needs of the community, a group of local physicians founded the Boulder Hospital Association.

In 1921, the Colorado General Assembly authorized the University of Colorado to establish Colorado General Hospital in Denver, and required that it never refuse someone because of inability to pay. However, in 1925 the medical school faculty's executive committee passed a motion saying that "the matter of free patients be left entirely to the discretion of the superintendent of the hospital," so there was a certain amount of ambiguity about the policy.

Boulder Community Hospital opened on June 29, 1921, as a community-owned not-for-profit institution where physicians not on the closed staff of the Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium could have privileges.

On January 1, 1922, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the regents of the University of Colorado entered into a contract under which the Chamber temporarily took over management of the University Hospital building on the Boulder campus and operated it as a community hospital — until it was no longer used as a hospital, at which point the University would resume control.

In September 1922, Colorado Medicine reported that "a merger of the University and Boulder hospitals was announced August 30. Control of the merged institutions will be vested in a Chamber of Commerce board. The plan provides that the community shall maintain the University hospital until August 1, 1924. New equipment for the operating room at the University hospital, purchased at the cost of $1500 by the Women's advisory board, is on hand and will promptly be installed."

Colorado General Hospital, Denver

In January 1925, the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the College of Nursing, no longer in Boulder, began classes on the new campus at 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Denver.

Frederick Bonfils, publisher of The Denver Post, had donated seventeen acres for the medical campus. The Rockefeller Foundation contributed $700,000 and the State of Colorado $600,000. The Carnegie Foundation, the City of Denver, and private individuals also contributed. In 1925, The University of Colorado's Colorado General HospitalUniversity Hospital, a public teaching hospital that cared for those who were unable to pay — opened on Colorado Boulevard in Denver. It had 150 beds and was designed to expand to 300 beds. There was also a nurses' residence building.

Colorado Psychopathic Hospital, directed by Franklin G. Ebaugh, MD, was located on the same campus as Colorado General Hospital. Psychopathic Hospital served as a statewide referral center for psychiatric patients.

In 1991, following a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that the University of Colorado Hospital could not legally become a corporation, the Colorado state legislature established the University of Colorado Hospital Authority, which was legally and financially separate from the state and its publicly funded universities.

University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora

In 1995, the Base Realignment and Closure report designated Aurora's Fitzsimons Army Medical Center as a facility that was to be closed. The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, University Hospital, and the City of Aurora proposed to the Department of Defense that a large part of the Fitzsimons campus be developed as an academic health center.

Fitzsimons Army Medical Center closed on June 30, 1999, and construction on a large part of its campus began to move forward quickly, converting it into the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.

The Anschutz Medical Campus adjoins the Fitzsimons Life Science District, and the whole Anschutz-Fitzsimons campus is 578 acres — for comparison, Washington's National Mall is 309 acres and New York's Central Park is 843 acres.
In 2007, the University of Colorado Hospital opened its new $644 million, 820,000-square-foot (76,000 m²) facility at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

The original 20,000-square- foot Emergency Department that was used at University of Colorado Hospital since 2007 had been designed for about 20,000 to 30,000 patients annually — but just a few years later, the Department was seeing more than 70,000 patients annually.

In April 2013, University of Colorado Hospital opened a new, 54,000-square- foot Emergency Department for its facility in Aurora.

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