Southern Colorado's first children's hospital set to open in 2018

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After more than 15 years of planning, southern Colorado's first children's hospital is finally underway.

Children's Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs set to open in 2018.

Children's Hospital Colorado-Colorado Springs is set to open by the end of 2018. It will be located on the northeast side of town near Briargate Boulevard and Union Boulevard.

On Wednesday, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the start of construction. More than 300 people were in attendance.

“This has been a critical part of Children’s Hospital Colorado’s vision to come to the community of Colorado Springs and southern Colorado, to really bring, not just the physical building and state-of-the-art facilities for children, but an extraordinary group of people,” said President and CEO of Children's Hospital Jena Hausmann.

While the center is still working to decide what trauma level the hospital will be, it will be the region's first pediatric-only emergency department. The regional vice president, Greg Raymond, says the doctors working at the hospital will be double-board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine.

That means families who have to travel to Aurora for treatment, will soon be able to be seen locally.

“We’ve had people from Colorado Springs travel for years and years up to the Aurora campus," said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. "Two years from now, we’re going to have our own children’s hospital.”

“We’ve had people that have been commuting up to the hospital for treatment that are just going to be elated to have a facility here," Suthers said. "Think of all the military kids that can help, that can actually get an assignment here because of what’s available for their kids.”

The facility will be 294,000 square feet with five levels that will include more than 550 team members.

Major services include a neonatal intensive care unit, a behavioral health area, a sleep study lab and the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

"This is going to be a dimension that we were lacking that we are now going to have," said Suthers. "Fantastic health care for the children in our community.”

Before this hospital, out of the top 80 biggest cities in the country, Colorado Springs was one of only three without a children's hospital.