DENVER – SCL Health System Inc., a faith-based nonprofit group, announced at the end of the year that it plans to build and operate four small community hospitals throughout the Denver metro area.

Denver-based SCL Health System is partnering on the project with Emerus Hospital Partners LLC, an emergency and acute health-care provider based in The Woodlands, Texas.

The first new hospital will be built in Westminster. The building's location and size have yet to be announced, but the hospital is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2014, SCL said in a press statement. The other three hospital sites have not been selected, according to a spokesman.

In October 2012, Exempla Healthcare bought 48.9 acres of land at the northwest corner of Interstate 25 and Colorado Highway 52 in Frederick for an undisclosed price with plans to build a future medical campus. Exempla Healthcare is part of SCL Health System, which has more than 1,100 workers at offices in Broomfield, Denver and Lakewood.

Each new community hospital is expected to include an operating room and triage area on the first floor, and about 10 patient beds on a second floor. The hospitals will offer emergency medical care, inpatient care, surgical procedures, diagnostic services and other health services offered at other SCL Health facilities.

SCL operates three hospitals in the Denver metropolitan area, including Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette.