Global integrated design firm Stantec has completed the first phase of a comprehensive facilities master plan for the Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS). The process is part of a larger facilities master planning effort to help DHS maximize close to 4 million square feet of real estate assets across 20-plus properties statewide to better support its mission of serving Coloradans with bold and innovative health and human services.
“As our state continues to grow, it is vital that we have a solid plan in place for how we will utilize our facilities to continue to provide high-quality human services that improve the safety, independence, and well-being of Coloradans,” said Gargi Duttgupta, manager of Planning & Design, Colorado Department of Human Services. “Through our partnership with Stantec, we are evaluating all DHS properties as well as consolidating all of our outstanding planning efforts into a single master plan that will help us more effectively chart a path for the next decade.”
Phase I, which began in March 2020, was inclusive of 84 DHS administrative/non-24/7 properties across multiple sites in the north-central district of Colorado. Through this process, Stantec identified opportunities for a total reduction in space of more than 83,226 net square feet over a 10-year time frame due to evolving workplace preferences and standards.
“Many DHS facilities are 50 years old or older, so part of our goal was to determine their existing condition to understand how those facilities are currently supporting—or not supporting—the program at each location. This, along with extensive data gathered from interviews, surveys, and past planning studies aided us in identifying strategies for the Department to optimize operations and service delivery for the future,” said Stephanie Wood, facilities planner in Stantec’s Denver office. “Drawing on the expertise of our multidisciplinary team, we were able to work with DHS and provide customized tools and expertise to pinpoint a preferred direction based on its projected needs. We were also able to provide the information needed to begin the process of securing funding for next steps that were essential to support services for the next generation.”
Phase II encompasses evaluation and planning for the remaining 90-plus DHS facilitates providing 24/7 direct care and support functions for behavioral health services, youth, and aging adult services in residential, outpatient support, and outreach settings.
Through this process, Stantec will examine the department’s qualitative and quantitative needs and goals, while bringing in experts in health and behavioral services to work with the DHS team to align facilities for best practices in health and human services.
“The way our facilities are set up has a big impact on everything from creating a welcoming environment for members of the community to maximizing patient dignity and reducing the rates of institutionalization,” Duttgupta said. “This master planning effort is an important step in our goal of empowering Coloradans to thrive and to live a stable life now and in the future.”
Stantec’s Denver office has a longstanding relationship with DHS. Past projects include the two Facilities Program Plans for its Mental Health Institutions at the Fort Logan and Pueblo campuses, the Hawkins High-Security Forensic Institute, and various DHS facilities across the Denver metro area.
Photo courtesy of Stantec