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The former Moritz hospital building in Sun Valley is slated to be demolished this fall along with several dorm buildings. Preparations for the project are underway.

The northeastern entrance to the Sun Valley Inn will be taking on an unassuming—yet familiar—look this fall.

Located between Sun Valley Road and Moritz Road at Sun Valley Resort, the plot will soon become rolling greenery intended to blend into the resort’s surrounding golf courses. While the site will gain more than a dozen new trees, unobstructed views and new paving, it will lose the 45,000-square-foot Moritz building that has stood since 1961, in addition to six nearby dormitory buildings.

According to site maps submitted to the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission, two dorms have already been flattened and four more are slated to be demolished to free up space for new landscaping.

Earlier this month, P&Z Chairman Ken Herich signed a document approving the updated building and dormitory demolitions. Sun Valley Co. has yet to submit a demolition permit, but is expected to do so within the next two months.

The original application from architectural firm Ruscitto Latham Blanton proposed demolition of the Moritz building and three of its accompanying dorms, citing increasing maintenance costs and a much-needed roof replacement. The P&Z unanimously approved the application in September 2018.

On Aug. 8, the P&Z approved a revised plan for demolition of all six dormitory buildings—the Cedar, Boise, Idaho, Balsam, Washington and Oregon. The dorms have housed resort employees.

Two new, larger dormitory buildings to replace those have been built near the Sun Valley Horseman’s Center, to the west. The Aspen building—which has dorm-style rooms—was completed in December and the Alpine building—which has apartments—was completed in June. Accounting offices in the old Moritz building have been moved into remodeled space in the Sun Valley Inn building above The Place employee restaurant, and the human resources office has been moved to the Alpine building.

Prior to housing administrative offices and residential units for resort employees, the Moritz building was known as the Sun Valley Community Hospital and in 1973 was renamed the Moritz Community Hospital in honor of longtime Medical Director Dr. John Moritz.

With the building’s knockdown drawing closer, Sun Valley Community Development Director Bryce Ternet asked for the future site to be marked with a historical plaque honoring Moritz’s 33 years of contribution to the valley. The P&Z declined the signage request.

“Dr. John,” as he was affectionately called, expanded the hospital from a makeshift ward on the third floor of the Sun Valley Lodge into the Moritz building, where about 150 babies were born every year and many skiers were treated for broken bones and sports injuries.

Following Moritz’s death in 1998, St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center opened in 2000 to better serve a growing number of seasonal and year-round residents in Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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