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Behavioral Health Milestone – Will Cook, President and CEO of Vail Health

Will Cook

The battle against the behavioral health crisis in this Valley began long before I became President and CEO of Vail Health, and it is a battle that is one step closer to being conquered thanks to the Eagle County Commissioners’ approval of Vail Health’s PUD amendment application for our property located at the I-70 roundabout intersection in Edwards. 
We are beyond grateful for their support and the support of an entire community to move this project forward. 
Vail Health and its subsidiary, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, plan to build a centrally-located, in-patient behavioral health facility on the back parking lot and convert the entire property into a  comprehensive community health campus.
This would not have been possible without the relentless efforts of a multitude of teams and individuals, both internally and externally, and I thank them all for their dedication to this project and its cause. I also want to recognize our volunteer Board of Directors for committing $60 million to address the behavioral health crisis in our community and our generous benefactors who have helped contribute to Vail Health Foundation’s $100 million It Takes A Valley campaign, both of which made this project a reality.
As importantly, modifications and improvements to the plan would not have been possible without the feedback and comments from the public. We want to specifically thank the residents of the neighboring Old Edwards Estate for voicing their thoughts and providing thoughtful ideas on how to better the project for the mutual benefit of their neighborhood, the community and Vail Health. Their collaboration is a shining example of what our community can accomplish when we listen to each other and work toward compromise. Thank you, and as Craig Cohn is quoted in Wednesday’s paper: “We are a community partner. We will continue to be a community partner.”
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this facility and campus or the positive impact it will have on our community. We firmly believe that it will save lives by allowing patients and their family members to remain in our valley for much-needed crisis care and that it will bridge the current gaps in the continuum of care.
With the government approvals of the concept plan now secured, we will now move on to finalizing the construction drawings with our architect with the intention of selecting a general contractor during the next several months. Our goal is to begin construction on the in-patient behavioral health facility located in the back parking lot of the property next summer. 
The new comprehensive community health campus in Edwards is already providing valuable services to our community, as the following organizations are already operating in the current buildings: Colorado Mountain Medical outpatient behavioral health, the Community Market, the United Way’s Youth Closet and Toy Chest, My Future Pathways, and MIRA. Additional non-profit partners will be moving into additional spaces in the coming months. 
This is a milestone for our community and organization. 
Will Cook, President & CEO