Another building at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Rio Rancho campus got nods of approval from two governing boards last week, paving the way for a growing UNM presence in northwest Rio Rancho.
Both UNM regents and the Rio Rancho Governing Body signed off on a memorandum of understanding that was a needed step in the building of the Center of Excellence for Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation.
Planning documents show that once completed, the two-story, 50,000 square-foot clinic will have space designated for academics, rehabilitation, clinic and research. Once finished, UNM’s campus in Rio Rancho will be the site for orthopedic research, instruction, rehab and surgeries, such as joint replacements, said Jamie Silva-Steele, the president and CEO of the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to not just advance learning … but also an opportunity to add new services and expand services for patients,” she said.
The center will be the third UNM Health Sciences building on its Rio Rancho campus, which has grown since the hospital opened in 2012. The area is north of Paseo del Volcan near the Santa Ana Star Center.
The $20 million building will be funded with a Rio Rancho gross receipts tax for higher education that sunsets in the summer of 2028.
Those taxes won’t be used on equipment, furniture and operating costs. UNM will pay those, Silva-Steele said.
The project also needs approval from the Higher Education Department, the New Mexico Finance Authority and the state Board of Finance, Silva-Steel said. Once that approval is granted, officials expect construction to take about 18 months. The goal is to have the facility operational by late 2021.
“Rio Rancho continues to be at the center of excellence,” Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said in a prepared statement. “The proposed expansion of the UNM Health Sciences Rio Rancho Campus to include an academic learning space for students, an orthopedic center, and cutting edge health care technology truly adds to Rio Rancho’s reputation as a visionary community.”