Lutheran Legacy Campus Master Plan

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Master Plan Process

With SCL Health exploring plans for Clear Creek Crossing, the City and SCL Health are partnering to on a master planning process for the existing Lutheran legacy campus. A master plan is used to establish a long-range vision and to guide how a property can be reused in the future. It will take about eight months to complete a master plan for the campus, and that time frame allows for extensive input from the community including virtual and in-person events, surveys, and other activities. The master plan will be adopted as an update or amendment to the City's comprehensive plan to expand potential future uses on the campus.

Staff discussed the potential for a master plan process with City Council, which SCL Health agreed to fund, on November 2, 2020. On January 25, 2021, the City awarded a contract to MIG, Inc., a professional planning firm that will lead the community through the visioning and master planning process.


Next Steps and How To Be Involved

MIG, Inc. is currently conducting an existing conditions scan, which will be followed by visioning as outlined in the "Public Process" and will include a public campus tour of the site. To prepare for visioning, please take a moment to:

  1. Register your information to participate in engagement activities on this site (see the "register to get involved" icon at top right of this page; or bottom of page on mobile)
  2. Subscribe for updates to receive project newsletters via email (see the "subscribe" icon at top right of this page; or bottom of page on mobile)
  3. Tell us your story
  4. Take the Virtual Campus Tour replicating the in-person, Self-Guided Campus Tour Event that took place on May 1, 2021
  5. Participate in the community-wide survey



Master Plan Process

With SCL Health exploring plans for Clear Creek Crossing, the City and SCL Health are partnering to on a master planning process for the existing Lutheran legacy campus. A master plan is used to establish a long-range vision and to guide how a property can be reused in the future. It will take about eight months to complete a master plan for the campus, and that time frame allows for extensive input from the community including virtual and in-person events, surveys, and other activities. The master plan will be adopted as an update or amendment to the City's comprehensive plan to expand potential future uses on the campus.

Staff discussed the potential for a master plan process with City Council, which SCL Health agreed to fund, on November 2, 2020. On January 25, 2021, the City awarded a contract to MIG, Inc., a professional planning firm that will lead the community through the visioning and master planning process.


Next Steps and How To Be Involved

MIG, Inc. is currently conducting an existing conditions scan, which will be followed by visioning as outlined in the "Public Process" and will include a public campus tour of the site. To prepare for visioning, please take a moment to:

  1. Register your information to participate in engagement activities on this site (see the "register to get involved" icon at top right of this page; or bottom of page on mobile)
  2. Subscribe for updates to receive project newsletters via email (see the "subscribe" icon at top right of this page; or bottom of page on mobile)
  3. Tell us your story
  4. Take the Virtual Campus Tour replicating the in-person, Self-Guided Campus Tour Event that took place on May 1, 2021
  5. Participate in the community-wide survey


  • About

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    Background

    The Lutheran Medical Center campus (aka the "Lutheran legacy campus") is located at 8300 W. 38th Avenue and has been part of the SCL Health network since 2010. In 2018, SCL Health purchased a 26-acre parcel at Clear Creek Crossing west of I-70 at 40th Avenue. Clear Creek Crossing presents a rare opportunity for the Wheat Ridge community to think about the future of the Lutheran legacy campus in the heart of the City.

    Lutheran History

    The current Lutheran legacy campus is centrally located in Wheat Ridge just west of Wadsworth, extending between 32nd Avenue and 38th Avenue. The campus is about 100 acres in size. Lutheran is the City's largest employer.

    Medical uses on the property significantly pre-date the City. The site began as the Evangelical Lutheran Sanitarium in 1905, with numerous tents erected for the treatment of tuberculosis patients. In 1961, Lutheran Hospital opened as a non-profit general medical facility. In the 1970s, the site became known as Lutheran Medical Center, and services continued to expand with construction of new buildings, including the six-story tower in 1973. In 1998, Lutheran became part of Exempla Healthcare; and in 2010, Exempla joined the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, which became SCL Health in 2014.

    The site is currently zoned as a Planned Hospital District (PHD), and permitted uses include only hospitals, hospice care, and accessory uses customarily associated with a medical campus. The City’s comprehensive plan, Envision Wheat Ridge, designates the campus as a public land use noting that public uses, including the hospital, will “remain as community and neighborhood anchors.” The plan also designates the site for primary employment. These designations reflect the well-established hospital use, and the comprehensive plan does not consider other potential land uses for the site. It's through a master planning process, however, that possible uses for the future can be updated and expanded.

  • FAQs

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    How can I get involved?

    The master planning process relies heavily on public input to inform the vision for the site. Public engagement will include a variety of in-person and virtual events. Register and subscribe on What’s Up Wheat Ridge to stay informed. Refer to the "Public Process" to see what events are upcoming


    Why should I get involved?

    We often see the public speaking up during zone changes or site planning, but by that point, approvals are based on their compliance with an adopted plan. That’s why it’s important that you be involved in the creation of the adopted plan. This chart shows how the master plan relates to development approvals, and why it’s important to get involved now.


    What is a master plan?

    A master plan is a long-range planning document that articulates a vision for a specific area. Unlike the City's comprehensive plan which outlines a vision for the entire City, a master plan describes more specific goals for the land use, design and transportation for a specific area. A master plan is sometimes called a subarea plan, small area plan, or station area plan.

    Refer to the process information handout which explains how a master plan fits into the processes of planning and development and how it relates to the more general comprehensive plan and more specific development approvals.

    Right now, the City’s guiding documents only allow for a hospital and medical campus on the Lutheran property. This is our chance, as a community, to envision what the site could be if it were to be redeveloped. Change will not happen tomorrow – this is a twenty-year plan that will be delivered over a long period of time—and your voice is important to this process.


    Is this master planning effort being initiated by the City or SCL Health?

    Both. The City and SCL Health are partnering on this effort to ensure input from the land owner and the community, with the consultant (MIG, Inc) leading us all through the planning process. SCL Health purchased land at Clear Creek Crossing, and is seeking development approvals for a medical campus there. This creates an opportunity for change at Lutheran, and the City and SCL Health want to define to vision for the campus with community input and based on the realities of what the market and infrastructure can support.


    Does the master plan change the zoning of the property?

    No. A master plan is a vision document that helps guide future entitlements. While it does set the stage for development, it does not address specifics of exactly what can be developed. Zoning and site development will be potential next steps after the master plan and subject to future public processes.


    Is Lutheran moving?

    There are no immediate plans for moving the facilities that are at the Lutheran campus. SCL Health purchased land at Clear Creek Crossing, and is seeking development approvals for a medical campus at that location. Some facilities and services may remain at Lutheran, but at this early stage there is not yet a timeline for development or moving. That opportunity for SCL Health provides the City of Wheat Ridge and the greater community the opportunity to envision what could happen with the existing Lutheran Campus.


    What will be developed at the Lutheran legacy campus?

    This is the reason for the master plan! There are no development plans for the campus, and the master plan is meant to inform the potential for future development or redevelopment. Some things may change, but some things will stay the same. The master plan process will work to identify and, if possible, retain key cultural and historic resources on the existing campus. Some of the uses that are on the existing site, may remain, and continue to serve the community in their current locations.


    How specific is a master plan?

    A master plan does not identify specific users or site plans. It needs to communicate the overall vision and goals, but leave some flexibility for future developers. The master plan will be focused on 1) confirming a viable vision, one that respects the community’s concerns and SCL Health’s responsibilities to their patients and staff, and 2) helping to set up the regulations and policies that will ensure the quality of and contribution to the addition to our community to come.


    Who will be developing the site?

    While SCL Health owns a majority of the site and it lies within the City of Wheat Ridge, neither SCL Health nor the City of Wheat Ridge will deliver change – the future of this site will delivered by a partnership (or partnerships) with the development community.


    What is happening to the blue house and chapel?

    The blue house and chapel are located on the Lutheran campus close to 38th Avenue. Built in 1902, the Blue House was one of the original structures on the Lutheran property and housed a reception area, the Superintendent’s office, and eight beds on the second floor for critically ill patients. The Blue House was converted into a dormitory for nurses following the 1920 expansion, and in later years, was used as a thrift shop and as a tearoom. The structures are privately owned by SCL Health and are not currently on any historical registries. Because of their conditions, they are not being used today.

    The master plan is a high-level document and is not going to specify the disposition or future use of any specific buildings on the site, including the blue house and chapel. There are many options that can be explored, and while the master plan may outline those options, it's atypical for any specific action to take place during a master planning process. Due to their current conditions, a prospective buyer or developer would need to explore if or how the structures can be integrated into the project as a whole after the master planning process ends.