gov body training group

Representatives of Rio Rancho Police and Fire Rescue departments and the New Mexico National Guard pose after a presentation thanking the people who arranged joint mass-casualty incident training between the fire and police departments at the local National Guard armory several months ago. The presentation took place at the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting Wednesday.

UNM plans joint replacement, rehab centers at RR campus

Jamie Silva-Steele

A planned second building for the University of New Mexico campus in Rio Rancho would focus on joint replacement, wound care and rehabilitation, the leader of the university’s City of Vision efforts told the city governing body.

During the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting Wednesday night at City Hall, UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center CEO Jamie Silva-Steele explained the plans to have the campus expansion complement work at the hospital. The UNM Health Sciences Rio Rancho Campus, formerly called UNM West, has one building, which houses training for nurses, medical assistants and behavioral health care providers.

She said the second building is expected to be about 49,500 square feet with a price tag of almost $15.7 million. It would include a Center of Excellence for Arthroplasty and Rehabilitation.

“So what this means in laymen’s terms is a center that would do all of the joint-replacement study, research and clinical care for the health system and health sciences center,” Silva-Steele said.

The center would provide classroom teaching, research and laboratories, including cadaver and anatomy labs, in orthopedic practices, she continued. The educational component would serve high school students through medical residents.

SRMC is providing all of the elective joint-replacement surgeries for the UNM health system.

“So these are surgeries we currently provide, so we saw this as a very nice marriage, if you will, of the academic and research sides, along with our clinical activity,” she said.

The second component of the center of excellence would be a clinic where providers could see adult patients for hip, knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow and wrist reconstruction, as well as pain management. Students would also train there.

The final section of the second building would house outpatient rehabilitation and wound care services, including physical and occupational therapy.

Silva-Steele said SRMC is a destination for medical care, and with the second campus building, the UNM facilities in Rio Rancho’s City Center will become a destination for education, too. That situation might lead to hotel placement in the area and then attraction of other amenities, she continued.

She hopes to add health and wellness amenities and work with the city for a second senior center near the UNM buildings. She’s also collaborating with the city and Sandoval County to gather data in preparation for providing transportation to City Center.

“You may not be able to tell, but I’m super excited about this opportunity because I finally feel like we’re getting to a place where we’re starting to see some real movement and some real traction,” Silva-Steele said.

Other matters

In other business, governing body members:

• Approved submission of a loan application to the New Mexico Finance Authority to borrow $614,000 to get four pieces of heavy roadwork equipment for the Public Works Department.

• Approved a second and final vote to repeal the DWI vehicle seizure program.

• Voted for the second and final time to repeal the utilities assistance program due to insufficient donations and give the $2,000 collected to Storehouse West pantry for Rio Rancho residents needing help with utility bills.

• Heard a Lodgers’ Tax Board report in which board member Richard Holcomb said final accounting shows the Pork & Brew festival was in the black for the first time this year.

• Agreed to consider at their Oct. 24 meeting a resolution forming a special committee to find facts and make recommendations regarding development agreements and impact fee credits.

• Approved a second and final reading of changes to the procedures for appealing decisions on land-use variances.