ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rio Rancho and Sandoval County officials got a sneak peek at how an $86 million expansion project now underway will transform the already bustling Presbyterian Rust Medical Center hospital.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services President and CEO Jim Hinton said hospitals in other parts of the country are consolidating or closing but Rust Medical Center is responding to growth in the surrounding community. He said Presbyterian was able to accelerate plans to expand the hospital thanks to strong local support.
Hinton and hospital administrator Jeff McBee gave a presentation to local officials at the hospital this week, outlining the scope of the expansion.
It includes a new six-story patient tower that will house 48 hospital beds, a cancer center, four operating rooms and a rehabilitation gym. The expansion will bring 100 more professional jobs to Rio Rancho, on top of Rust’s existing workforce of 670. There will be 50 to 100 workers involved during construction.
Groundwork has already started on the site on the west side of the hospital, near the intersection of Unser and Black Arroyo. McBee said they have an aggressive schedule, with projected opening in November 2015.
“We want the beds available before the busy winter season,” McBee said in an interview before the presentation.
Rust currently has 92 patient beds, including an 11-bed neonatal intensive care unit.
Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull, who also spoke, called the expansion project “an exciting stimulus to the local economy.” He mentioned the numerous businesses that have opened along nearby Unser Boulevard in recent years.
Sandoval County voters in 2008 approved a property tax increase to bring in funds to support Rust Medical Center and the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center, also in Rio Rancho. Rust Medical Center opened in October 2011 with 68 beds. In 2012, city councilors approved a moratorium that cut the fees the city charges developers for infrastructure.