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Tower rising in Rio Rancho will be city’s largest

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A construction worker works along the light well and courtyard of the third floor of Presbyterian Rust patient tower. The tower, under development, is expected to open to patients in November. (Antonio Sanchez/Rio Rancho Observer)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The six-story, 150,000-square-foot patient tower currently under construction at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center is an $89 million structure made out of poured concrete that will be the tallest building in Rio Rancho.

Still on schedule for completion in November, the tower is just part of an expansion of the medical center that opened in late 2011. Also under construction is a small second-story extension of the diagnostic and therapeutic area of the medical center that will house four operating rooms and related preparation/recovery bays.

“I get a lot of comments from the community,” said Jim Jeppson, director of real estate at nonprofit Presbyterian Healthcare Services. “What we’re doing has led to cascading development in the area. Community and business leaders have thanked us for what we’re doing to stimulate growth.”

Rust Medical Center, at five-stories tall and a total of 460,000 square feet, already has a massive presence in Rio Rancho even without the new patient tower — the second of three in the medical center’s master plan — but is dwarfed by Intel Corp.’s plant, which commercial real estate firm CBRE has logged in at 4.9 million square feet.

As for building height, Rio Rancho does not have any six-story buildings. Until the past six years or so, it’s only four-story building was the former Amrep headquarters.

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The first floor of the patient tower will house a cancer center offering oncology treatment and radiation therapy. Patients receiving treatment will have a view of a landscaped garden. At 25,000 square feet, Jeppson said the cancer center at Rust will be bigger than the one at Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital in the Northeast Heights.

The second floor will have 24 orthopedic patient beds and a physical therapy/rehabilitation center, while the third floor will have 24 general medical beds. The tower’s top three floors will be left in a shell condition and built out as needed, Jeppson said.

Rust Medical Center curently has 81 beds licensed for adults.

The patient tower is one of the biggest construction projects underway in the metro area, and the crane being used  in its construction is the largest currently assembled in the state, Jeppson noted. On average, about 250 workers are on the site in any given day, he said.

The architect for the tower addition is Dekker Perich Sabatini, while the general contractor is McCarthy Builders, based in St. Louis with an office in New Mexico.

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