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Before implosion, doctors and nurses remember old campus

"And we thought those ICUs were state of the art!" said one nurse.
Old hospital building before the implosion

DENVER - Nurses and doctors who spent much of their careers on the old University of Colorado Health Sciences Center on East Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard met up this week to remember the good old days. The biomedical research building is set to implode at 8 a.m. Saturday.

"And we thought those ICUs were state of the art!" said one nurse.

The group gathered in their new home: the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. The campus relocated from Denver in 2008.

Dr. James Borgstede stood in the middle of about a dozen staff members who made the location jump. He started his residency at the old campus in 1975.

"The quality of food was still pretty good compared to what I was used to coming from Chicago!" he joked.

And while the deli may have been top of mind for a guy fresh out of medical school, it was the advancements in medicine that's kept him there so long.

"I am greatly indebted to that institution and the whole community should be indebted to the University of Colorado Hospital and the medical school," he said.

In the lobby of the new hospital the memories seem endless. There's talk of cancer patients refusing to wait for marriage, getting hitched right there in front of hospital staff. Dr. Borgstede recalls the advancements made in ultrasound imaging. The first prototype, a gun turret from an old World War II bomber surrounded by transducers to produce an image in the old hospital's basement.

Nurse Terry Shade also remembers that basement. Although for other reasons than medical advancement.

"So you had to push the bed up the ramp, get all the power you could to muster up the ramp and coming back you had to hold, try to put the brakes on to make sure you didn't run away with the bed," Shade said.

Shade arrived in 1981 and says some of her greatest memories are the first heart, lung and liver transplants.

University of Colorado's medical campus called Ninth and Colorado home for 85 years. But it's been vacant for seven years and it's now being replaced. The 26-acre site will become a mixed-use space including retail, apartments and a hotel. The project is expected to cost $490 million. The City of Denver contributed a $47.9 million subsidy by way of a tax-increment financing plan.

Here is a map of the detours and routes around the implosion site the day of the implosion: http://imgur.com/PYt8TkT.

(© 2015 KUSA)

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