Cost of keeping Colorado Convention Center ready for COVID patients was the same as a new Ram pickup each day

DENVER (KDVR) - Disuse stacks up.

Officials said Tuesday that the and turn it back into its original use by March 25. Gov. Jared Polis converted the center to an emergency hospital .

The Convention Center was prepared to handle an additional 2,200 patients at a time if necessary. As of Tuesday's announcement, it had handled exactly zero.

According to the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, it cost $60,000 per day to keep the Convention Center running as an overflow site.

This puts the total days in use as an overflow shelter between 250-300. In total, it has cost between $15 million and $18 million to keep the shelter entirely unstaffed and unused.

In real world terms, this is both a lot and a little, depending on the perspective.

On the one hand, $15 million could pay for a good deal of public service or entertainment.

, Colorado could have bought 60 Robinson R-22 helicopters, or paid for with Denver standing for King's Landing, or bought a new high-end Dodge Ram half-ton pickup a day for its law enforcement teams - or two new Subaru Crosstreks.

On the other hand, Colorado has enough wealth to make $15 million look cheap.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic could have paid for the entire Convention Center operating costs . Similarly, whoever bought this could have picked up the tab, though even $15 million only buys 25 homes in

The government perspective makes $15 million look fairly affordable as well.

In large-scale terms, $15 million is a comparatively small drop of state finances. It has a comparable value to that of some individual appropriations for mid-sized capital construction projects or division expenses.

A Hinsdale County pre-kindergarten-12 school, for example, was renovated for $13.5 million while the Colorado gaming division's expenses in 2020 totaled $16 million. Convention Center funding could also have covered a pot-funded substance abuse program for a year.