Presbyterian Rust Medical Center held a ceremony in its healing garden Thursday to kick off construction of a new patient tower that will include a cancer center and expand the care and services the hospital provides to local patients.
“Today we are celebrating an important step in Presbyterian’s continuing commitment to Sandoval County and Rio Rancho,” said Jeff McBee, administrator at Rust.
The six-story tower will rise over the next 15 months on the northwest side of the existing facility. The $86 million project will employ 50-100 construction workers per day and 100 health care professionals once the tower opens.
“At Presbyterian, we love to share our stories, and the communities and patients we serve make it easy to do this, because your stories are our stories,” McBee said. “The story of this hospital is really the story of Rio Rancho, the City of Vision.”
Rust opened in October 2011 and has the only neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) in Sandoval County.
Dr. Randy Nederhoff, director of medical care for newborns at Rust, said the number and acuity of the hospital patients, as well as the number of babies born there, have far exceeded expectations.
Ruby Davis, who was born eight weeks early and spent a month in NICU in 2013, attended the ceremony with her family. When Nederhoff recognized her NICU nurse, Mary, and began sharing Ruby’s story, the infant made a small noise, to the delight of the audience.
Jean Davis, Ruby’s mother, spoke next. She decided to deliver at Rust, which was 60 seconds from her driveway. While there, she was impressed with the incredible staff and emphasis on communication. The private NICU rooms allowed her to breastfeed while Ruby was attached to the equipment.
Davis said her experience at Rust gave her a lot to think about. After a corporate career in quality assurance, she has decided to become a nurse and, hopefully, work in the new patient tower. McBee quipped he would get her a job application before she left that day.
After the ceremony, Jean said she will take some prerequisites this fall and then apply for the nursing program jointly administered by Central New Mexico Community College and the University of New Mexico at the City Center in Rio Rancho.
Presbyterian administrators and local government officials who spoke at the ceremony shared their excitement about the opportunities and benefits of the new tower, which will bring more patients into the Presbyterian family and boost the local economy.