Laci Van Loozen wishes she still lived in Colorado. Instead, her and her family make the trip up from Austin, Texas, once every five years, and she always makes a stop at the place she was born. Van …
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Laci Van Loozen wishes she still lived in Colorado.
Instead, her and her family make the trip up from Austin, Texas, once every five years, and she always makes a stop at the place she was born.
Van Loozen was the first baby born at Sky Ridge Medical Center in 2003, and when she visits Colorado she celebrates her birthday with hundreds of others at the hospital. This year she was the guest of honor for Sky Ridge's 15th anniversary on her 15th birthday.
She's a soft-spoken teenager, but Marian Savitsky, Sky Ridge's second-ever employee and chief nursing officer, said enough for her. Van Loozen and her family were presented a birthday cake to celebrate both birthdays.
Though Van Loozen and her family moved out of Colorado soon after she was born, she will always have a piece of Colorado with her, and maybe that's what makes her long for the picturesque Rocky Mountains.
“It's so much prettier,” Van Loozen said.
When Sky Ridge was built in 2003, it became the first and only hospital in Douglas County.
And since then, both Sky Ridge and Van Loozen have grown up. Van Loozen is a cheerleader and when she returns to Lone Tree, she likes to do what a lot of local residents do: Shop at Park Meadows. Sky Ridge is certified to treat Level Two trauma and has a full pediatric program, a signature women's program and a spine and joint program, among several other programs and offerings requested by Douglas County residents.
“We knew the community in Lone Tree wanted a first-class hospital,” said Sylvia Young, president and CEO of HealthONE, the parent healthcare company of Sky Ridge. She said Sky Ridge earned a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that ranks hospitals. “Think five-star, Ritz-Carlton, top-of-the-line — Sky Ridge is on that list."
To the Sky Ridge team, Young spoke of an even brighter future.
“We look forward to sharing that next milestone with you,” she said.
Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas said the milestone was not only important for Sky Ridge, but also reflected a milestone for the entire region, which has since welcomed three hospitals in the area, one each in Castle Rock, Parker and Highlands Ranch. Since 2000, Douglas County has grown from a county of fewer than 200,000 people to one with more than 300,000 residents.
RidgeGate developer Keith Simon called the hospital a “pioneer” to the development in the area. The area has since become Lone Tree's most booming area with the Charles Schwab campus, thousands of housing units and a bevy of retail opening up since Sky Ridge opened. Simon also credited Sky Ridge with being a key part to getting the RidgeGate interchange and Southeast Light Rail Extension to the area as well, neither of which preceded Sky Ridge.
“We're looking forward to your continued growth and success,” Simon said.
One of Lone Tree's major employers, Sky Ridge started with 300 employees and has since grown to 1,300 employees, with an additional 300 volunteers. The hospital has served about 500,000 emergency visits, done 210 surgeries, delivered 45,000 babies, and helped patients lose a combined 90,000 pounds through its bariatric program, according to Sky Ridge officials. Sky Ridge also has done the most robotic surgeries in the state. Mayor Jackie Millet called it a world-class facility.
“I don't think we truly imagined the positive impact it has had on the community,” Millet said. “To say they've gone beyond our expectations would be an understatement.”
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