ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Presbyterian Healthcare Services is bringing cancer patient services to its Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho as part of an $80 million expansion project expected to begin this summer and add about 100 new jobs to the workforce.
The project involves building a new six-story patient tower on the northwest side of the existing facility and expanding an area of the second floor above the emergency department entrance.
The tower will have capacity for up to 120 additional beds, including 24 orthopedic beds, 24 medical/surgical beds, the cancer center and a physical therapy gym.
The second-story space will have four operating rooms and 12 to 15 preparation/recovery bays.
“We’re really excited, especially to bring the cancer center to this side of town,” said hospital administrator Jeff McBee. “The treatments take their toll – they really weaken the body – and to keep that close to home is very, very important.”
The Rio Rancho hospital at Unser and Wellspring opened in October 2011 with 68 beds. But the plan was always to expand to meet the needs of the growing population, he said.
Rust discharged 6,113 patients, excluding newborns, in 2013, a 21 percent increase over the number in 2012. And the number of beds available at Presbyterian’s Downtown Albuquerque hospital will be reduced as a renovation project converts many two-bed rooms to private rooms.
Another factor in the timing of the expansion is the September expiration of the impact fee moratorium the Rio Rancho City Council approved last year, McBee said. The moratorium eliminated infrastructure-related fees the city charges for commercial development.
McBee estimated it saved Presbyterian about $800,000.
Presbyterian is financing the expansion with a blend of bond money and operational cash. It has hired the same firms involved in the original building project for the expansion, architects Dekker/Perich/Sabatini and contractor McCarthy Building Cos.
McBee expects the project to begin in June and be complete by late 2015 or early 2016. He expects it will add about 100 new jobs to the Rust Medical Center workforce of 658.