Unique climate

Filed under: Health Quarterly |

Colarelli Construction’s Mike Mortenson said the new building will be completed by November.

Life more than a mile above sea level has its benefits: the air is clean, the sun shines more than 300 days a year and dramatic mountain views abound. On the flip side, however, Colorado’s high plateau climate means drying winds, increased skin damage from UVA and UVB rays, and a higher incidence of skin cancer.
Add these factors to ordinary cases of skin rash, psoriasis, acne, burns and infections and the stage is set for high demand for medical dermatology services in the Pikes Peak region
Because the growing need for dermatological specialists, Colorado Springs Dermatology Clinic began planning another location in 2005. By November, the new single story facility at 170 Parkside Drive should be a reality.
The 2.41-acre site was purchased several years ago for $590,000, said Ken Waterhouse, consulting administrator for the practice. Once Morasko & Associates, a Denver-based architecture and health care consulting firm, was selected, a general contractor was picked and ground-breaking took place in March. In addition to the nearly-14,000-square-foot main medical office building, plans provide room for a 3,000-square-foot addition.
Mike Mortenson, a project superintendent with Colarelli Construction, said the job required special mechanical and electrical planning because of the “density of equipment” scheduled for the interior.
“The owners expect to put another $1 million in medical equipment and laser technology into the building, on top of the project’s $2.5 million total construction cost,” he said.
Designed to blend with surrounding office buildings at Printer’s Park, the building’s façade will include stucco-like material and stone. The west-facing structure also will take advantage of panoramic mountain views.
But the building’s most interesting feature may lie more in what’s going on inside rather than in its bricks-and-mortar overview.
Waterhouse said an increasing number of clients are being referred by primary care physicians who are not equipped to handle the complexities of a medical dermatology specialty.
“In the 1980s and 1990s, in the HMO-environment, primary care physicians were required to provide dermatological services, but it turned out not to be as efficient or as effective as receiving treatment from someone who understood the complexities of dermatology,” he said. “Today, many general practitioners refer their patients to us. It’s much less frustrating for everyone involved.”
The clinic was founded in 1974 by Dr. Larry Cole and Dr. Leon Cunningham.