The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center will celebrate the beginning of construction on the new UNM Children's Hospital and Critical Care Pavilion with a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, November 17, 10:30 a.m. on the roof of the UNM Hospital west parking garage.

"This is an important day for New Mexicans," says UNM President Louis Caldera. "Our patients come from every corner of the state.  This new facility will have a tremendous impact on the entire state."

New Mexico's largest capital improvement project to date, the 476,555-square-foot expansion will provide six new floors of clinical space.  "The expansion project will allow our physicians and nurses to provide New Mexicans with the most advanced care available," says Steve McKernan, chief executive officer of UNM Hospitals.

The expansion project includes a maternity center, newborn intensive care unit, adult critical care units, emergency and trauma services, private patient rooms, and two dedicated floors for UNM Children's Hospital.

The maternity center will house 54 new patient rooms for labor and delivery, high-risk ante-partum, and post-partum, and six OB triage suites.  The newborn nursery will hold 39 bassinets for UNM Hospital's youngest patients.

UNM Children's Hospital, which will be located on two dedicated floors of the new facility, will include a 20-bed pediatric intensive care unit, a 34-bed pediatric acute unit, a 20-bed pediatric oncology unit, a 15-bed rehabilitation unit, four pediatric surgery suites, and a child life center. An extensive neonatal unit, with 52 beds, also will be housed in UNM Children's Hospital.

Adult patients will benefit as well from improved facilities as a result of the expansion project.  The new adult critical care until will include a 24-bed burn/trauma/surgical intensive care unit, a 24-bed medical intensive care unit and a 24-bed neurosciences intensive care unit. 

As the state's only Level I trauma center, UNM Hospital's emergency facilities are vital to people from across the state.  "The new emergency center will provide New Mexicans with state-of-the-art care," says R. Philip Eaton, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at UNM.  "Trauma patients from all over the state come to UNM for help.  These new facilities will allow us to give them the best care possible."  The emergency center will include a 40-bed adult unit, an 11-bed pediatric unit, a six-bed metabolic unit, a six-bed trauma unit, and a 14-bed observation unit.  Construction on the $233.8 million project began on October 13, with completion expected in fall 2007. 

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center provides added value to health care through leadership in providing innovative, collaborative education; advancing frontiers of science through research critical to the future of health care; delivering health care services that are at the forefront of science; and facilitating partnerships with public and private biomedical and health enterprises.


Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-3322