BCH – History

Boulder’s original hospital was established in 1889 as University Hospital.  Built on the University of Colorado campus, it served as a teaching hospital for medical students and provided training for nurses.  Both the city and the county of Boulder contributed to its construction and support. 

In 1920, university regents decided to move the medical school to Denver.  Fearing that Boulder would be without a hospital, a group of 26 physicians from Boulder, Louisville and Lafayette purchased the Ben Hagman residence on the corner of Broadway and Alpine in 1921.  They converted the house into the 15-bed North Boulder Hospital.

Nearly two years later, the doctors sold the property to the community and on April 19, 1922, the Community Hospital Association was organized and incorporated as a “not for profit” organization.  The Association’s original five-member board was appointed.

By 1924, Boulder faced the challenge of ensuring that its local hospital could meet the needs of the growing community.  In 1925, a vigorous community drive raised funds to remodel and expand the Hagman home to accommodate 45 patient beds.  On April 4, 1926, the new Boulder Community Hospital (BCH) building was dedicated.

Between 1955 and 1974, Boulder Community raised additional funds to support further facility expansions.  By 1974, the hospital had 172 beds; had admitted its 200,000th patient; and the Emergency Department was treating 14,300 patients annually.  In 1978, the BCH Foundation was established to spearhead the hospital’s fundraising efforts.  As a result, BCH continued to successfully expand its facilities and services, including the Emergency and Imaging departments; outpatient and recovery services; a helipad for air transport patients; the opening of Community Medical Center in Lafayette in 1985; and the opening of the Miriam R. Hart Radiation Therapy Center in 1988.

In 1989, BCH acquired the 93-bed Boulder Memorial Hospital at 311 Mapleton Avenue and renamed it the Mapleton Center.  In 1992, the 18-bed Tisone Family Cancer Care Center opened at BCH.  In 1994, a new Medical Pavilion that housed numerous physician offices replaced the hospital’s old South Wing.

Nearly 10 years later, the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine (BCSM) opened on the Mapleton campus.  BCSM serves active people of all ages and abilities including elite athletes.  BCSM is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee's Sports Medicine Rehabilitation Network.

In early 2000, BCH sought opportunities to further expand the availability of health care beyond central Boulder.  This pursuit began with the building of a new 50,000 sq. ft. Community Medical Center (CMC) in Lafayette to serve residents in growing east Boulder County.  CMC is home to an Urgent Care Center, several physician offices and provides a range of outpatient therapies and diagnostic services.

The hospital’s expansion strategy reached a significant milestone in September 2003 with the opening of the 200,000 sq. ft.  Foothills Hospital.  At the time, Foothills had 60 beds, a 24-hour emergency department, an intensive care unit, surgery, radiology and laboratory services.

Foothills Hospital was the country’s first “green hospital” and was also the first hospital in the U.S. to earn the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.  LEED is the system for designing, constructing and certifying the world’s “greenest” buildings.

In 2006, the 24,000 sq. ft. Tebo Family Medical Building opened on the Foothills Medical Campus.  The building houses comprehensive, state-of-the-art outpatient treatment services for cancer patients. 

BCH further expanded local availability to important imaging services in 2009 with the opening of the Medical Imaging Center in Broomfield.  In early 2010, the hospital increased its presence in Broomfield by opening Buffalo Ridge Medical Center which provides East County residents with convenient access to a range of physicians specializing in internal medicine, gastroenterology, oncology and urology as well as lab and imaging services.

In late 2010, BCH announced a 10-year development strategy designed to centralize services and professional staff and expand resources available to local citizens. The first phase of this ambitious plan was completed in January 2013 with the opening of Anderson Medical Center.  Located just north of the Tebo Family Medical Building on the on the Foothills Medical Campus, Anderson Medical Center is a 46,000 sq. ft. medical office building which houses Boulder Community's premier cardiology services, physician specialists and a state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center. 

In April 2014, Boulder Community Hospital announced that it was changing its name to Boulder Community Health (BCH). The name change aimed to better reflect the organization’s evolution into a regional health system, with 18 locations spread across six communities throughout Boulder and Broomfield Counties.

The next phase of BCH's 10-year development strategy involved adding 110,000 square feet of clinical space to the existing Foothills Hospital. This construction project was completed in October 2014. Boulder Community Health consolidated the majority of inpatient acute care services at Foothills Hospital, a site that improves access to critical services for most residents of Boulder County. For updated information on BCH's development strategy, click here.


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