What does a shipping container have to do with wellness?

Earlier this month a 225 square foot shipping container was placed just outside the primary care entrance to the Telluride Regional Medical Center. We’re calling it a Wellness Annex, and reasonably, you might have some questions about this. What’s a Wellness Annex and how will it be used? The shipping container turned Wellness Annex will accommodate the medical center's growing mental health services and community education forums.

With the addition of the Annex, we are able to move our Behavioral Health Counselors from the basement to a conference room just off of the primary care lobby —a much more appropriate space for our team to meet with patients.

With this move, we’re also able to bring the Medical Center’s CEO (that’s me) under the roof of the medical center. I’ll be moving my office from an east Telluride office suite into the Medical Center’s basement, (where the Behavioral Health Counselors were).

I can’t tell you how much it will mean to me and the staff to be working more closely together. Literally!

Our staff have many other uses for the Annex including Quality-Assurance meetings, trauma-based care trainings, tele-health conferencing and other trainings.

But why a shipping container? It’s a practical solution. But it should be a short-term one.

The addition of a Wellness Annex is the latest effort by the Telluride Hospital District to address serious capacity issues while we continue their search for a site for a new facility.

In the 40 years the medical center has existed in the current space, there have been nearly a dozen renovations to keep up with healthcare technologies and patient growth.

We’re at a point where there’s no way to make more of the space within the facility. It’s helpful to remember too that Telluride Hospital District doesn’t own the land, it’s on a lease that expires in 2032.

The community deserves better than this. We need a new facility!

Wait, what’s happening with the search for a new home for the Medical Center? The Telluride Hospital District board of directors has been working to secure a home for a new facility since 2006. And the search for a suitable parcel of land continues today.

This has never been an easy mission. Developers hold much of the suitable land for the construction of a large medical facility. Parcels of land that can accommodate our project are either not available for sale, or have restrictions that inhibit the development.

Presently we continue to negotiate with various landowners, HOAs and developers while also looking for new possibilities from the community.

How much did the shipping container cost? And how was it funded? Ultimately we decided on a shipping container to help ease the capacity issue because the cost is less than half the cost of new construction and later, this shipping container can  be re-purposed or sold. All told the shipping container, after modifications and furnishings will cost under 200k. The funding for the Wellness Annex comes mostly from the Hospital District’s cash reserves, as well as Philanthropic Dollars from the Telluride Medical Center Foundation.

When will the Wellness Annex be functional? We expect to begin using the Annex mid-June.

Do you have any other questions? I’d love to hear them! Reach me at jgardner@tellmed.org.