What do you do with an old hospital? In Boulder, you recycle it.

Telling the Hospital Story: Boulder Hospital. Facility half-torn down.

For decades, the Boulder Community Health hospital building stood as a beacon of hope, comfort and outstanding patient care to countless area residents.

Now it is gone, an entire city block razed as the health organization consolidated operations at a different location. But the “bones” of the former hospital live on, still supporting the community in a new and different way.

A city ordinance passed in 2020 prohibits massive deconstruction project debris from being hauled away to the dump. Instead, most of the material left from the brick-by-brick demolition of the Boulder Community Health hospital has been recycled and repurposed, keeping 60.8 million pounds out of the landfill.

Millions of pounds of concrete and brick were crushed onsite and placed carefully back into the ground, to serve as the foundation of an affordable housing project that will occupy the now-vacant lot.

Some of the steel beams left over from the tear-down now reinforce local Fire Station No. 3, while the remaining steel beams are available for purchase by area builders and do-it-yourselfers.

Items inside the hospital, like doors, lights, toilets, cabinets and medical technology have been donated to local auction houses and thrift stores to sell independently, for which the city of Boulder gets a donation tax break.

The mission to reuse and not throw away materials from the former hospital building aligns with Boulder’s sustainability and climate goals, including 80% greenhouse gas reduction by 2050 and net-zero energy consumption by all buildings by 2031.

Other cities are considering similar deconstruction plans for the first time, looking to Boulder’s repurposed hospital as their example.

Resources on the Role of Hospitals